LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) perked up a bit today, rising 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 going about their business as usual. Here are three from the FTSE indexes that are gaining today.
Premier Foods (ISE: PFD.L)
Premier Foods gained 5% to 71.25 pence after announcing the disposal of its vinegar and sour-pickles brands. The sale of Sarson's, Hayward's, Dufrais, and others will raise 41 million pounds from Japanese acquirer Mizkan, which should help the struggling food brand owner to focus on its key brands, including Hovis and Oxo.
The 162 million pound company, whose interim results are due on August 7, was sitting on net debt of nearly 1 billion pounds 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 (ISE: KLR.L) Ground engineering specialist Keller's shares rose 4.3% to 454 pence after the company released pleasing interim results. With revenue up 13% to 614 million pounds, pretax profits more than tripled to 11 million pounds, versus 3.4 million pounds for the first half of 2012.
Despite warning of continuing economic uncertainty, chief executive Justin Atkinson said 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 30 pence since June's low of 348 pence. And with forecasts suggesting a dividend yield of 5%, there could be more to come.
Ithaca (ISE: IAE.L)
Ithaca Energy 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 the shares to gain 4.9% to 127 pence in early trading.
The area, in the North Sea 280 km southeast of Aberdeen, is now set to move ahead to production, including the installation of oil and gas export pipelines and other essential equipment. The shares have had an erratic year so far and are currently down about 10% year on year. But today's news should certainly help.
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