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Why these 3 ASX shares smashed the market in July

The month of July certainly was a disappointing one for the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO).

Late in the month the index threatened to break through the 5,800 points mark, but ultimately gave back its gains to finish the month flat at 5,720 points.

Whilst it wasn’t hard to beat the market last month, three shares certainly did it in style. Here’s why they were stand out performers:

The Avz Minerals Ltd (ASX: AVZ) share price rocketed an incredible 125% in July. The major catalyst for this increase was the assay result of the first of seven drill holes at its Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This result further confirmed the world class potential of the project and could hint at a bright future for the company. I believe Avz Minerals is certainly one to keep a close eye on.

The Kogan.com Ltd (ASX: KGN) share price gained an impressive 53% in July. Investors appear to have overlooked the prospect of the company losing market share to e-commerce behemoth Amazon, and instead have focused on the way it is diversifying its operations. Last month Kogan announced plans to offer mobile broadband plans this year and residential NBN internet services in 2018. Furthermore, the company will soon offer insurance products. Whilst this is a big positive, I have concerns that it may not fully offset the impact of Amazon on its business

The Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) share price gained 12% in July thanks to a lift in the oil price and an impressive reduction in its costs. West Texas Intermediate crude had its best month in over a year, finishing the month higher by 9% to US$50.17 per barrel according to Bloomberg. This was music to the ears of Santos which has worked hard to reduce costs in the last 12 months. Santos revealed last month that it now operates with a free cash flow breakeven forecast of US$33 per barrel. I think the now profitable Santos could be worth a closer look, especially if you think oil prices will stay at current levels in the medium term.

Missed out on these gains? Don't worry, I think these growth shares could be ones to watch in August.

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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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