3 Shares Set To Beat The FTSE Today

Published in Investing on 30 July 2012

Premier Foods (LSE: PFD) gets out of pickles, and Keller (LSE: KLR) sees profits soar.

The FTSE 100 (UKX) perked up a bit today, gaining 30 points (0.5%) to 5,657 by late morning, largely on optimism spurred by the weekend's comments from European leaders in support of European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. Governments in Germany, France and Italy assured us they will do all they can to save the euro.

But while the question of the long-term survival of the euro might be occupying our central bankers and politicians, individual companies are just going about their business as usual. Here are three from the FTSE indices that are gaining today...

Premier Foods

Premier Foods (LSE: PFD) gained 3.5p (5%) to 71.25p after announcing the disposal of its vinegar and sour pickles brands. The sale of Sarson's, Hayward's, Dufrais and others will raise £41m from Japanese acquirer Mizkan, which should help the struggling food brand owner to focus on its key brands, including Hovis and Oxo.

The £162m company, whose interim results are due on 7 August, was sitting on net debt of nearly £1bn at its last year-end, so that's something to watch out for. Although the shares are up today, they're still down 60% over the past 12 months -- but could they be past the bottom now?

Keller

Ground engineering specialist Keller Group (LSE: KLR) shares gained 18p for a nice 4.3% rise to 454p after releasing pleasing interim results. With revenues up 13% to £614m, pre-tax profits more than trebled to £11m, against £3.4m for the first half of 20122.

Although warning of continuing economic uncertainty, chief executive Justin Atkinson said that full-year results are expected to be "slightly ahead of the top end of the range of market expectations". With today's rise, the shares are up 30p since June's low of 348p, and with forecasts suggesting a dividend yield of 5%, there could be more to come.

Ithaca

Ithaca Energy (LSE: IAE) got a nice boost from the announcement that it has awarded a contract to Technip UK for major subsea works to be carried out on its Greater Stella Area oil and gas project, leading to the shares gaining 5.9p (4.9%) to 127p in early trading.

The area, in the North Sea, 280km southeast of Aberdeen, is now set to move ahead to production, with the installation of oil and gas export pipelines, and other essential equipment. The shares have had an erratic year so far and are currently around 10% down year-on-year. But today's news should certainly help.

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He avoided techs in the dotcom bubble and banks in the credit boom. But just where is dividend expert Neil Woodford investing today? All is revealed in this free Motley Fool report -- "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor".

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article

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