3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today


LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) fell a few points in morning trading but gained in the early afternoon to stand at 5,795 points at the time of writing, up 12 points. In general, after the recent positive moves from the eurozone, markets in the U.K. and Europe seem happy to enjoy a relatively calm spell.

But there are plenty of individual companies in the various indexes that are beating the FTSE. Here are three on the up today...

Premier Farnell (ISE: PFL.L)
Premier Farnell shot up 10% to 189 pence this morning, despite the electronics distribution company announcing that pre-tax profit for the first half of the year has plummeted by 51% to 31.8 million pounds.

What appears to have enthused the company's watchers is news of an apparent upturn in second-half performance. According to chief executive Laurence Bain, "In August we were encouraged by the return to year-on-year growth of 0.4%."

The interim dividend was held at 4.4 pence per share, with full-year forecasts suggesting a 5.5% yield.

Dunelm (ISE: DNLM.L)
Dunelm Group brought some action to a currently sluggish retail sector in the form of a 15% boost to pre-tax profits for the year ending June 2012, which was enough to push the shares up 4.8% to 655 pence.

The out-of-town household soft-furnishing retailer saw revenue increase by 12% to 603.7 million pounds, from which it made a pre-tax profit of 96.2 million pounds. That translated to a 19.8% increase in earnings per share, and the firm was confident enough to lift its dividend by 21.7% to 14 pence per share, which was higher than forecasts.

Kier (ISE: KIE.L)
Kier Group enjoyed a modest 2.4% rise to 1,377 pence on the release of pleasing annual results. Despite a fall in revenue for the construction firm, underlying pre-tax profit for the year to June rose by 2% to 70 million pounds, with underlying EPS up 6% to 156.8 pence. The full-year dividend was lifted by 3% to 66 pence as a result for a 4.8% yield.

The shares have had a volatile ride this year, falling from 1,489 pence in February to a low of 1,095 pence by April. But we've seen a steady recovery since then, and the shares are on a price-to-earnings ratio of less than nine based on today's underlying earnings figure. That does not look overstretched.

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