Tesco (LSE: TSCO), Stagecoach (LSE: SGC) and Home Retail (LSE: HOME) rise this morning.
The FTSE 100 (UKX) is perking up today, gaining 30 points to 5,899 in morning trading, as a number of our larger companies are on the up. In fact, the index of top UK stocks is now only 90 points below its 52-year high of 5,989 -- though it does keep getting close before falling back again.
So what is driving the various FTSE indices? Here are three companies whose shares are flying today:
Tesco (LSE: TSCO) received a long-awaited boost today from its third-quarter update, and the share price responded by gaining 12p (3.6%) to 338.5p in early trading. Overall group sales (excluding petrol) rose by 2.9% in the three months to 24 November, while UK sales rose by 2.3%. The company's plan to upgrade its UK shopping experience appears to be bearing fruit, with like-for-like food sales up 1.2%.
But business at Tesco's American Fresh & Easy chain has not been good, and it looks like the firm will be exiting from the US market -- Tesco told us it is conducting a strategic review, and that "all options" are being considered.
Shares in Stagecoach (LSE: SGC) put on 7p (2.5%) to 299p after the rail and bus operator reported a 66% leap in first-half earnings per share to 16.8p, from a 5.9% rise in like-for-like revenue to £1.4 billion. The firm, which co-owns Virgin Rail, sounded cautious about the second half, saying: "We expect revenue growth in the second half of the financial year ending 30 April 2013 to remain relatively modest."
Are Stagecoach shares a bargain? Well, full-year City forecasts put them on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of under 11, and there's a well-covered dividend yield of 3% expected, so they just might be.
Home Retail Group (LSE: HOME), the owner of Argos, saw its shares soar by 10.4p (9.2%) to 124p after announcing a new appointment to the board of directors. Jacqueline de Rojas, who is VP and UK general manager of IT company CA Technologies, has taken on the role of non-executive director, and is expected to provide expertise to help the firm's transition of Argos to a leading online retailer.
This latest price boost adds to the steady progress the shares have made since the firm's announcement of its big Argos revamp at the time of its half-time results in October.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesco and has recommended shares in Stagecoach.