Why these 4 ASX shares started the week with strong gains

In afternoon trade the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has followed the lead of international markets and is up 0.5% to 6,027 points.

Four shares that have climbed more than most today are listed below. Here’s why they have started the week with strong gains:

The Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD) share price has climbed 3% to $1.94 following the release of its half-year results. Although Ardent Leisure posted a decline on the top and bottom lines compared to the prior corresponding period, investors appear to have been pleased to see that its theme parks and US-based Main Event business have had a strong start to the second-half.

The BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX: BSL) share price is up 4.5% to $16.19 after the steel manufacturer delivered a first-half reported net profit after tax of $84.2 million including one-off items. This was a 23% increase on the first-half of FY 2017. In light of its strong performance, the board has approved a partially franked interim dividend of 6 cents per share and extended the on-market share buy-back by a further $150 million.

The Propel Funeral Partners Ltd (ASX: PFP) share price has pushed 4.5% higher to $3.26 after announcing a 90% increase in half-year operating net profit after tax to $6.3 million. Thanks to the strong first-half, the funerals company has upgraded its forecast FY 2018 operating EBITDA to $21.1 million. This is 15% higher than the its prospectus forecast.

The Reliance Worldwide Corporation Ltd (ASX: RWC) share price has jumped 7% to $4.43 after the plumbing products company released a strong half-year result. Thanks to double-digit growth in core SharkBite Push‐To‐Connect fittings and accessories and the first full period inclusion of Holdrite, sales grew 28.3% on the prior corresponding period to $362.6 million. This led management to raise its EBITDA guidance range for the full-year to between $150 million and $155 million, from $145 million to $150 million.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the 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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