3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is flat at 5,850 points mid-morning, having dropped when the market opened and then recovered to get back to yesterday's close. We've had a strong few weeks, with the index of the U.K.'s biggest shares up 6.5% since mid-July and perhaps poised to beat its 52-week high of 5,966 points set in March.

But wherever the index overall is going, many individual companies in the various FTSE indexes are performing well. Here are three that have gained today.

Gulf Keystone (ISE: GKP.L)
Gulf Keystone Petroleum
perked up 4% to 213 pence after announcing a significant development in its Shaikan Field in Kurdistan, Iraq. In what was described as an important milestone, the company told us it has submitted a Declaration of Commercial Discovery for the field, and it will now move on to creating a development plan.

Gulf shares have been erratic this year, but they've put on a strong 47% since the end of June, and there are strong forecasts for 2013.

Lonrho (ISE: LONR.L)
, which invests in agriculture, infrastructure, and other sectors in Africa, rose 5.8% to 8.4 pence on the release of interim results that saw like-for-like revenue up 29% to 123 million pounds in the six months to June 30. Gross margin increased by 3.6% to 25.6%, and net debt was reduced by 23% to 78.7 million pounds.

The boost came mainly from the company's focus on agribusiness, but its no-frills airline FastJet (backed by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou) helped it to a 32.5 million pounds pretax profit, up from 23.7 million pounds. A dividend is expected to be introduced in 2013.

Dixons (ISE: DXNS.L)
Dixons Retail
continued its strong run with a 3% rise to 16.5 pence on the acquisition of a further 22% of PIXmania for 8 million pounds cash to add to the 77% it already owns. PIXmania owns the e-commerce platform that Dixons uses in the U.K. and Ireland, and the buyout improves Dixons' control over its online and other multichannel business.

Dixons shares have gained 72% since their 2012 low point in January, suggesting the high-street retailer has turned the corner, with forecasts suggesting nearly 30% earnings-per-share growth this year and a further 40% next year. However, there won't be much of a dividend for a while.

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