LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) has had a torrid quarter, with its ups and downs in response to ongoing world and eurozone crises leaving it with an overall fall of 200 points, to around 5,570 at the end of June.
A bad time to invest in the stock market, then? Not a bit of it. You don't need bull markets to make money; you just need to find the top-performing companies.
We've been looking at three of the biggest FTSE risers over the quarter.
Top telecom mover
TalkTalk (ISE: TALK.L) , which has been heavily promoting its competitively priced broadband offerings, has been one of the most profitable shares of the past quarter, going from 136.5 pence at the end of March to end June at 191 pence -- that's a 40% rise in just three months!
Full-year results released on May 17 gave it a sharp boost, up by 26 pence to 159 pence, for a 20% leap on the day. What we saw was strong growth in earnings per share and operating cash flow.
But perhaps most importantly for shareholders, the dividend was raised by 61% to 6.4 pence per share, and the company announced a target of at least 15% dividend growth for 2013 and 2014.
Targeting growing dividends brings TalkTalk in line with its competitors, such as BT, which is targeting 10%-15% dividend growth for the next three years.
Gas and electricity with that?
Telecom Plus (ISE: TEP.L) , which bundles telecoms in with water, gas, and electricity, has had a great quarter as well, with its share price up by 163 pence (24%) to 854 pence in the past three months.
That did follow a previous quarter that saw the share price fall, but over the past 12 months it's up 25% overall, and it has more than four-bagged over the past five years.
Telecom Plus' unique selling point is its unusual marketing strategy. Trading as Utilities Warehouse, it employs no sales staff, has no shops, and does no advertising. Instead, its customers act as agents to spread the word and attract new business. It's a strategy that clearly works.
Telecom appears to be a must-have FTSE sector these days. But if you want more ideas of undervalued sectors that should do well in the long term, I'd recommend you get a free copy of the Motley Fool report "Top Sectors of 2012," in which the Fool's top analysts share their thoughts.
What does Perform Group (ISE: PER.L) , do? Well, other than growing its share price by 70 pence to 380 pence over the past quarter, for a gain of 22%, it's a digital-media company specializing in sports coverage, offering services in a number of countries.
And that 22% rise for the quarter isn't the end -- the shares have soared by more than 80% in the past 12 months, with forecasts of EPS growth of 75% for this year, and another 50% penciled in for 2013.
It's not paying a dividend yet, but what we have is a classic growth-company story.
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The article 3 FTSE Shares Soaring Higher This Quarter originally appeared on Fool.com.
Alan Oscroft owns no shares mentioned in this article. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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