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Why these 4 ASX shares are ending the week with strong gains

In afternoon trade the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is down a disappointing 0.5% to 5,732 points due largely to heavy declines in the energy and materials sector.

But that hasn’t been able to stop a number of shares climbing higher today. Four which are ending the week with particularly strong gains are listed below:

The Atlas Iron Limited (ASX: AGO) share price is up 5.5% to 1.9 cents. Although the iron ore price sank overnight, investors appear to have overlooked this due to the release of a strong quarter update. During the quarter Atlas met both its production and cost guidance and continued to pay down debt. Its debt now stands at $103 million, down from $182 million a year earlier.

The ALS Ltd (ASX: ALQ) share price has climbed 4% to $7.47 a day after the testing services company revealed its first-half FY 2018 profit guidance at its annual general meeting. ALS expects to deliver first-half net profit of between $70 million and $75 million. This was ahead of expectations at Citi, which according to a note released this morning, led to the broker reiterating its buy rating and increasing the price target on its shares to $8.50.

The Doray Minerals Limited (ASX: DRM) share price is up almost 8% to 21 cents. As well as receiving a boost from a lift in the gold price, the announcement of positive drilling results at its Deflector ore body have no doubt got investors excited. According to the release, bonanza grades, visible gold, and massive chalcopyrite in the drill core appears to indicate that the company is at the early stages of defining a new ore body at Deflector.

The Mantra Group Ltd (ASX: MTR) share price has climbed 3% to $3.11. Today’s gain is likely to be attributable to a research note out of Deutsche Bank. According to the note, the investment bank has removed its sell rating and upgraded the accommodation provider to a hold rating. I would go one step further and class its shares as a buy thanks to the tourism boom.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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