Why Australian Ethical, Cromwell Property, Smartpay, and Xero shares are surging

These ASX shares are having a very strong session. But why?

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In afternoon trade, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is out of form and trading lower. At the time of writing, the benchmark index is down 0.45% to 7,813.5 points.

Four ASX shares that are not letting that hold them back are listed below. Here's why they are rising:

Australian Ethical Investment Ltd (ASX: AEF)

The Australian Ethical share price is up 5% to $4.62. This follows news that the investment company has entered into a binding agreement to acquire the sustainable fixed income asset management business, Altius Asset Management, from Australian Unity. Once complete, it will see Australian Ethical grow its funds under management (FUM) from $10.3 billion to $12.3 billion. This will be an increase of 19%. Management highlights that the proposed acquisition is consistent with its strategy to serve the growing potential addressable market created by the structural drivers favouring responsible investing.

Cromwell Property Group (ASX: CMW)

The Cromwell Property Group share price is up over 7% to 46.7 cents. This morning, the property company announced that it has agreed to sell its European fund management platform and interests to Stoneweg for $457 million. Management notes that the transaction continues the company's strategy to simplify the business and transition to a capital light fund management model. It also allows Cromwell to focus on its core competencies in Australia and New Zealand.

Smartpay Holdings Ltd (ASX: SMP)

The Smartpay share price is up 10% to $1.22. This follows news that the payments company has signed a contract with Cuscal Payments NZ. The contract will see Cuscal provide payment processing services to support Smartpay provide acquiring services in New Zealand. CEO Marty Pomeroy said: "This is a significant milestone in Smartpay's ongoing partnership with Cuscal and the journey to becoming a trans-tasman instore payments provider, and realising a transformational opportunity for our organisation."

Xero Ltd (ASX: XRO)

The Xero share price is up 9% to $135.07. Investors have been buying the cloud accounting platform provider's shares following the release of its FY 2024 results. Xero reported a 22% increase in operating revenue to NZ$1.71 billion for the 12 months. This was underpinned by a 419,000 increase in subscribers to 4.16 million and a 14% lift in average revenue per user to NZ$39.29. On the bottom line, the company swung from a loss of NZ$133.5 million to a sizeable profit of NZ$174.6 million. Xero CEO, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, said: "This result shows we're doing what we said we'd do. We've delivered a strong and profitable FY24 result and Rule of 40 outcome, demonstrating our commitment to balancing growth and profitability."

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 Australian Ethical Investment and Xero. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Xero. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Australian Ethical Investment. 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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