LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) rose 33 points to 5,668 in morning trading as interim earnings from big blue-chip shares boosted confidence. We are still expecting policy updates from Europe and the U.S. after much recent talk in favor of supporting the eurozone and the banks, so people are still being a little cautious.
But however the FTSE 100 is doing, some individual companies are doing well. Here are three benefiting from good news today.
A strong trading update ahead of interims was the reason, with total sales for the six months to July 28 up 4.5%, topping previous guidance. Next Retail was pretty flat, but online Next Directory sales surged by 13.3% on the same period last year.
Estimates for interim profits, which will be announced on Sept. 13, have been lifted. Pretax profit is now expected to come in between 575 million pounds and 620 million pounds, with basic earnings per share forecast to grow between 7% and 15%.
Rightmove (ISE: RMV.L) A dull housing market didn't bother Rightmove, whose shares leaped 8% to 1,611 pence after the online home search operator reported a 23% rise in revenue at its halfway stage to 57.9 million, pounds, from which it extracted an underlying profit boost of 28% to 42.6 million pounds.
With underlying EPS up 30% to 32.2 pence, the half-time dividend has been lifted 29% to 9 pence per share. The same rise extended to the full-year payout would suggest a yield of 1.4%, which is not income to retire on, but it's a nice trend from a share in a growth phase.
Rightmove shares are now up 30% over the past 12 months, while the FTSE has gone nowhere.
Standard Chartered (ISE: STAN.L)
Standard Chartered rose 3.6% to 1,517 pence after the LSE's second-largest bank released interim figures. The bank, which focuses on emerging markets, lifted first-half pretax profit by 9% to $3.63 billion from $3.14 billion in the previous six months. It also raised its half-time dividend by 10% to $0.2723 per share.
With the world economy increasingly being driven by Eastern markets, Standard Chartered has a foot in both hemispheres, and that has helped isolate it from many of the troubles that have afflicted the Western banking sector. At the current price, there are respective dividend yields of 3.5% and 3.8% forecast for this year and next.
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