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Why Chesnara Plc, Lamprell Plc And The Restaurant Group PLC Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

Is the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) going to break out of its downward trend and avoid a fourth consecutive week of losses? Well, it doesn’t look like it so far, with the UK’s top index down 41 points to 6,442 in morning trading and down 50 points on the week so far. Fears of the UK engaging in military action in Syria appear to have been averted, but the resulting fall back in oil prices has sent energy company prices down this morning.

Still, there are some shares getting a boost today. Here are three from the various indices responding well to good news:

Chesnara

Shares in life insurer Chesnara (LSE: CSN) got a nice 7.8p (3%) boost to 268p this morning, after the release of first-half results led to a 2.5% rise in the firm’s interim dividend. Pre-tax profit more than doubled, from £9.3m a year ago to £21.8m, with earnings per share (EPS) doing the same and leaping to 15p from 6.2p. The increased dividend comes in at 6.25p per share.

A similar 2.5% rise in the final dividend would provide a total of about 17.8p, and even though the share price is up more than 40% over the past 12 months, that would still provide a handsome yield of 6.6%.

Lamprell

Oil and gas services firm Lamprell (LSE: LAM) announced a new contract award this morning, for “the construction and delivery of a completely outfitted, LeTourneau designed, jackup rig“. I’ve no idea what that is, but I’m sure it’s good. The rig will be built at the firm’s Hamriyah facility, and should be delivered in early 2015. The identity of the buyer was not revealed, with Lamprell simply saying it is “a highly valued customer“.

The market responded by pushing the shares up 4p (2.6%) to 146.4p. After yesterday’s jump in response to strong first-half results, the price is now up more than 50% over the past year — though it is down from 2013’s high of 183p.

Restaurant Group

It was first-half results time for The Restaurant Group (LSE: RTN) today, too, and the figures were enough to drive the share price up 16.5p (3.1%) to 555.5p — topping an excellent 12 month period that has seen the price soar 75%.

Revenue is up 11.5% to £280m, with like-for-like sales up 5%. The firm, which owns the Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Garfunkel’s brands, also reported a 15% rise in pre-tax profit to £30m and a 16% rise in EPS to 11.2p. Net debt has been reduced to £27.1m from £38.4m, and the interim dividend has been lifted by 17% to 5.25p per share.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.