Why Block, GQG, Helloworld, and Xero shares are racing higher today

These shares are ending the week with a bang. But why?

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is having a strong session on Friday. In afternoon trade, the benchmark index is up 0.6% to 7,632.8 points.

Four ASX shares that are rising more than most today are listed below. Here's why they are climbing:

Block Inc (ASX: SQ2)

The Block share price is up almost 11% to $117.52. This follows the release of the payments company's first quarter update this morning. Block reported a 22% increase in gross profit to US$2.09 billion. This was driven by a 25% increase in Cash App gross profit to US$1.26 billion and a 19% lift in Square gross profit to US$820 million. In light of this strong start to the year, Block has increased its guidance for FY 2024. It now expects adjusted EBITDA to be US$2.76 billion for the year This is up from its previous guidance of US$2.63 billion.

GQG Partners Inc (ASX: GQG)

The GQG Partners share price is up over 4% to $2.45. Investors have been buying this fund manager's shares following the announcement of its latest quarterly dividend. According to the release, the GQG Partners board has declared total dividends of 3.06 US cents per share. This represents approximately 90% of the company's unaudited and estimated first-quarter distributable earnings. This quarterly dividend equates to a 1.9% dividend yield based on its current share price and the latest exchange rates.

Helloworld Travel Ltd (ASX: HLO)

The Helloworld Travel share price is up 2.5% to $2.50. This may have been driven by a broker note out of Ord Minnett this morning. According to the note, the broker has upgraded the travel agent's shares to a buy rating with a $3.10 price target. It believes the company is well-placed in the current environment thanks to its exposure to favourable segments and age demographics. The broker expects this to support 5%+ dividend yields this year and next.

Xero Ltd (ASX: XRO)

The Xero share price is up 2% to $125.96. This could also have been driven by the release of a broker note. According to a note out of Macquarie, its analysts have retained their outperform rating on the cloud accounting platform provider's shares with an improved price target of $154.60. Its analysts made the move in response to news that Xero is making changes to its Australian subscription plans. It is also worth noting that Goldman Sachs responded positively to the news as well. Yesterday, the broker reiterated its conviction buy rating with a new and improved price target of $156.00.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has positions in Xero. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Block, Goldman Sachs Group, Macquarie Group, and Xero. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Block, Macquarie Group, and Xero. 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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