3 Shares Set To Beat The FTSE Today

Published in Investing on 4 September 2012

Ashtead (LSE: AHT) soars on a good Q1, and Greene King (LSE: GNK) has a sunny summer.

The FTSE 100 (UKX) continued the week sluggishly, falling 50 points to 5,709 by early afternoon, after previously optimistic outlooks towards Europe appeared to turn a little bearish. But miners picked up a little, reversing their recent gloomy trend.

But even if the blue chips aren't moving much, there are plenty of individual companies in the various FTSE indices that are making waves. Here are three on the up today...

Ashtead

Ashtead Group (LSE: AHT) piled up 31.8p (11.3%) to 314p today on the release of very strong first quarter results. For the three months to July, the equipment hire group recorded an underlying rise in revenues of 21% to £325m, and an underlying pre-tax profit boost of 82% to £61.4m -- though statutory results, including exceptional items, brought that down to a 5% rise to £34.9m.

With the board now expecting full-year results "materially ahead of its previous expectations", chief executive Geoff Drabble said "We are delighted with this record performance" -- I bet they are!

Greene King

Pub group Greene King (LSE: GNK) told us in an interim update today that sales for the 18 weeks to 2 September are up 5% in like-for-like terms, and that was enough to give the shares a 20.5p (3.6%) boost to 584p. The wet summer didn't impact sales too badly, and the effects of the Olympics were negligible overall -- stronger trading in suburban pubs compensated for lower sales at central locations.

The shares have had a great year, and are up around 35% on 12 months ago.

Smith

DS Smith (LSE: SMDS), the packaging and office materials provider, gave us an update today, and it was enough to send the shares up 6.4p (4%) to 168.4p. The firm completed its takeover of SCA Packaging according to schedule in June, paying a sum of £1.28bn, and told us that trading is in line with expectations and that we should be seeing substantial earnings per share growth for the full year.

Current forecasts suggest a payout of 4% for April 2013, rising to 4.8% the following year, with the shares on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 11, falling to under 9.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.

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