Whitbread (LSE: WTB), Home Retail (LSE: HOME) and Kentz (LSE: KENZ) all rise on good news.
The London market shrugged off eurozone worries this morning, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index (UKX) gaining 46 points to 5,537, beating its European counterparts.
But over the longer term it's still bouncing around the same level, as nobody knows how the troubles of the eurozone are going to pan out, and the Chinese slowdown is still hurting the natural resources sector.
We did have some nice risers today, showing that individual shares can do well regardless of where the overall market is moving.
Whitbread (LSE: WTB) impressed us with a strong first-quarter update. We saw total sales up 13% on the same quarter last year, but more importantly, like-for-like sales were up 4.5%. That growth looked consistent, too, across the company's various brands, Premier Inns, Costa, and its other hotels and restaurants. Costa did best of all, with an 8.4% rise in like-for-like sales.
No surprise, then, that chief executive Andy Harrison opined that "Whitbread has begun the new financial year well", or that the market responded by pushing the share price up 114p in morning trading, to 1,963p, for a gain in excess of 6%. The shares are now up more than 30% over the past 12 months.
FTSE 250 high-street stalwart Home Retail (LSE: HOME) has been in the wars, with sales at its Argos division falling relentlessly as shoppers desert its sales model in favour of online shopping and stores where you can actually see the goods.
But full-year results released this morning showed a sharp reduction in the rate of sales decline. In fact, like-for-like sales are Argos fell by only 0.2%, so it was effectively flat.
The indication that Argos sales may have bottomed out was welcomed, despite the bad weather pushing Homebase like-for-like sales down 8.3%. The shares gained a massive 25%, to rise 18.5p to 93p.
The gain helped Dixons Retail (LSE: DXNS) too, which put on 8% to 14.7p.
An engineering boost
Engineering hasn't been much of a growth sector of late, so it's nice to see Kentz (LSE: KENZ) doing well today. The firm released a pre-close trading update today, ahead of an analysts' fact-finding trip to some of its sites in Mozambique and South Africa
We were told that trade is "strongly in line with the revised guidance provided at the time of our Interim Management Statement in May 2012", and that its order book now stretches to 2015. The news was enough to send the shares up 9%, or 28p, to 353p in early trading.
Finally, if you're in the market for somewhat more dependable FTSE shares, look no further than 8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor. In this free report, we've analysed the £20 billion portfolio of legendary City fund manager Neil Woodford. Click here now to discover his favourite large-cap companies with high dividends and good growth potential. But hurry -- the report is free for a limited time only.
Further Motley Fool investment opportunities:
> Alan Oscroft does not own any share mentioned in this article.