3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

LONDON -- As of 8:15 a.m. EDT, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is up 13.5 points to 5,833 after a recovery last Friday helped offset much of the week's earlier fall. The FTSE does seem to be going through cycles, falling due to panic in Spain, Italy, or Greece, and then rising as it's forgotten until next time.

The best thing Foolish investors can do, of course, is forget all this nonsensical short-term noise and focus instead on companies that are looking good for the long term. Here are three that are up today on fundamental news.

Andor (ISE: AND.L)
Andor Technology, the firm that makes high-performance scientific digital cameras, saw its shares bounce up 10% to 425 pence after releasing a trading update. Earnings are still in line with current expectations, but what caught the market's attention was the planned introduction of Andor's first dividend payment.

With strong business in the Asia-Pacific region offsetting weak trading in Europe and America, the company is now expecting to see a fall in systems sales but a rise in research sales, and the board is feeling confident enough to start paying dividends. Payouts should start at 2 pence per share for the year ending Sept. 30, and future dividend policy is intended to be "progressive."

St Ives (ISE: SIV.L)
Full-year results from printer and publishing services firm St Ives -- which I took a quick look at last week -- were good, and the shares piled up 4.7% to 83.5 pence. As forecast, the full-year dividend was upped by 9.5% to 5.75 pence per share, which is a massive 7% payout.

Earnings per share did fall by 12% to 11.64 pence, but the dividend is still twice covered, and the company's net debt fell to 13.4 million pounds from 16.3 million pounds a year prior. Chief executive Patrick Martell told us the firm is successfully transforming itself to a "broadly based marketing services" business and away from conventional print, and he appears confident about further progress.

Gemfields (ISE: GEM.L)
Gemfields was another big morning riser, up 4% to 39 pence on the release of an asset report and feasibility study for its Kagem emerald mine in Zambia. To put it simply, there's lots of the green stuff there, with "JORC Code compliant Indicated Mineral Resources of 2.75 million tonnes or 1.0 billion carats of emerald and beryl at 365 carats/tonne" reported, and a projected output of 34 million carats per year for 20 years.

With riches like that, it's not surprising that Gemfields shares are up around 75% over the past 12 months.

If companies with good dividend policies like Andor interest you, then you could do far worse than to study the moves of ace investor Neil Woodford, who specializes in just that. The Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" takes a look at some of his major holdings. Click here to get your free copy while it's still available.

With a lot of shares in a number of sectors really starting to look like they're on the way up again, now could be a good time to start planning on making your first million from investing. It really is plausible, andthis free Motley Fool reporttells you how.

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The article 3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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