3 Shares Set To Beat The FTSE Today

Published in Investing on 15 November 2012

Atkins (LSE: ATK), Kier (LSE: KIE) and Invensys (LSE: ISYS) all gain on interim news.

The FTSE 100 (UKX) has carried on sliding today, dropping 29 points to 5,693 by lunchtime. News of the eurozone falling back into a recession didn't help, after figures showed the euro economies shrinking by 0.2% during July, August and September. The third-quarter decline followed a 0.1% contraction during the previous three months.

But whatever the folks across the Channel are getting up to, there are always UK-listed companies with share prices that are rising. Here are three names with good news that look set to beat the FTSE today:

WS Atkins

WS Atkins (LSE: ATK), an engineering and design consultancy on our Beginners' Portfolio watchlist, saw its shares respond well to the release of interim figures. The price gained 58p (9%) to 696p after the shares had been drifting lower on fears of a new construction slowdown.

Reported pre-tax profits gained 14% to £50 million as Atkins boosted its staff count by 2% during the period. The interim payment was lifted 2.6% to 10p per share, and full-year forecasts suggest a dividend yield of around 5%.

Kier Group

An interim update gave Kier Group (LSE: KIE) a welcome boost, sending the shares up 43p (4%) to 1,149p after an earlier price slump had seen the price fall around 20% in the past couple of months. Kier is another name that has been hit by the construction downturn, but the firm appears to be on course to meet its current expectations.

Though business has been tough, Kier has continued to secure new work, adding £400 million to its pipeline since 1 July. The second half is expected to be better than the first, too, and the shares on a P/E of only 8.5 could be a bargain.

Invensys

Shares in Invensys (LSE: ISYS) gained 5p (2%) today to reach 221p after the software and technology company issued an upbeat interim statement. Though revenues for the six months to September fell 2%, operating profits gained 2% to £102 million, with underlying earnings per share up 10% to 7.6p. The interim dividend was lifted 6% to 1.75p per share as well.

The full-year dividend yield is expected to exceed the 2% level, but with decent earnings growth forecast for this year and next, the shares don't look overvalued from a growth perspective.

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

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