5 top gainers on the S&P/ASX 200 today

US stocks rose sharply on March 26 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained back ground and S&P/ASX 200 stocks began to claw their way out of the red.

These 5 stocks were among the top gainers on the Top 200 today.

A2 Milk Company Ltd (ASX: A2M)

Surprise, surprise, milk giant A2 Milk Company Ltd was near the top of the S&P/ASX 200 gains list today with share prices up 5.2% to $13.09 at the time of writing.

Shares in A2 Milk have surged up 386% from its share price of $2.69 this time last year and show no signs of a slow-down anytime soon.

A2 was in the news this month for its partnership with New Zealand multinational dairy co-operative Fonterra – a move Fonterra has come out to say they had no choice but to make, with Fonterra agreeing to a joint venture with A2 rather than develop its own A2 brands – most likely linked to its failed Beingmate project.

All eyes are on A2’s infant formula products, given the astronomical success of formula and organic baby food supplier Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL) whose shares have jumped about 500% in the last year alone.

Western Areas Ltd (ASX: WSA)

Nickel-sulphide explorer and producer Western Areas Ltd was at the top of the S&P/ASX 200 gains during today’s trade, up 10.63% to $3.33 at the time of writing.

Western Areas share price has been on an upward trend for the past 12-months and the company boasts liquid assets of $186.8 million and zero debt, reporting a half-year NPAT of $3.5 million and EBITDA of $36.4 million.

The company’s project pipeline is gaining momentum, with FY18 guidance on track and exploration set to ramp up in the second half with programs at Western Gawler and Cosmos.

It’s hard not to get excited about Western Areas’ free cashflow positive status, and the mid-tier commodities player seems to have some high-quality projects on the go, priming it for decent growth in the future.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC)

New South Wales based coal producer Whitehaven Coal Ltd saw a share price surge of 5.5% to $4.49 at the time of writing in line with the company’s steady gains in the last year.

Whitehaven Coal’s operations include the Werris Creek Mine, Narrabri Mine and Maules Creek project.

Whitehaven has recently secured a deal to buy Rio Tinto Limited’s (ASX: RIO) 75% interest in the Winchester South coal project in the Bowen Basin, which will set Whitehaven back $260 million.

Whitehaven expect a 20-30 year mine life out of Winchester and is testament to the company’s aggressive focus on its future growth strategy.

Whitehaven recorded a half-year net profit of $257.2 million – up 63% on the previous corresponding period – with EBITDA up 42% to $460.6 million for the same timeframe.

With strong financial performance proven, Whitehaven is one to watch as its operational strengths continue to grow.

Independence Group NL (ASX: IGO)

Shares in mineral exploration company Independence Group jumped 5.7% to $4.87 today to add another resources stock on the top of the S&P/ASX 200 gains list.

Independence Group released an update on its battery projects and mines today to coincide with the share price zoom – announcing it would commit $50 million to project discovery for the FY18.

Independence Group has two key mining operations in Western Australia, with a current focus on its Tropicana Gold project and Stockman’s copper-zinc-silver project.

First half results out of Independence were strong, with revenue up almost 60% to $355 million.

IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX: IFL)

Australian financial service provider IOOF Holdings Limited was in the company of many commodity cousins near the top of the S&P/ASX 200 gains list today as its share price rose by 3% to $10.26 at the time of writing.

IOOF reported a profit slump of 39% in its half-year reports back in February, but it is likely its Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) OnePath transaction, due to be completed by October, could improve FY18 outlook and give IOOF investors plenty to look forward to in FY19.


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Motley Fool contributor Carin Pickworth owns shares of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of A2 Milk. 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 Scott Phillips.

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