Miners head higher while Premier Foods (LSE: PFD) sees some recovery.
The FTSE 100 (UKX) achieved a three-month high yesterday as banks and miners continued with their still-shaky recovery.
However, the index was pushed back below 5,800 this morning by a plunging Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) -- the bank was accused by US regulators of hiding extensive business with Iran. The index of top shares fell below 5,790 points, before recovering to an almost unchanged level of 5,808 by midday.
But all that didn't bother most companies, and many constituents of the various FTSE indices were happily progressing today. Here are three names that rose this morning and look set to beat the FTSE by the close of play:
Miner Xstrata (LSE: XTA) gained 18p (2%) to 901p after releasing its interim results that showed profits hit by the slump in commodity prices. Net profits fell by a third to $1.9 billion, from revenues that fell 7% to $15.5 billion. Xstrata is planning to cut capital expenditure by $1 billion this year and is still progressing with its planned merger with Glencore (LSE: GLEN).
A lot of the negative outlook for commodities may already be reflected in the prices of mining shares, with the falls looking overdone to many. In fact, Xstrata shares have rebounded 13% since their late-July low, with others stocks doing the same -- Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) shares are up 12% and BHP Billiton are up 11% in the same timescale.
Premier Foods (LSE: PFD) enjoyed a small boost to 73.25p following the release its interim figures. The share-price advance was only 1%, but after an awful run -- the shares have collapsed 98% since their 2007 peak -- anything suggesting a bottom has to be good.
The firm, which has dumped its pickles division to concentrate on key brands such as Hovis and Oxo, enjoyed a boost from the Jubilee holiday and saw underlying sales up 1%, with underlying trading profits up 3%.
A continuing cost-reduction programme is progressing well, with savings of £40 million expected by year-end and ahead of the previous 2013 target. Today's announcement said the company remained cautious, but it seems the turnaround plan looks like it's going well.
I've been keeping an eye on this engineering business of late, and was happy to see Meggitt (LSE: MGGT) post pleasing half-time results today that led to a share-price rise of 6p (1%) to 402p.
A 19% rise in revenues to £776 million for the six months to June 30th led to a 15% boost to underlying pre-tax profits, up to £169 million. With underlying earnings per share up 14% to 16.4p and net debt reduced by 6% to £793 million, the first-half dividend was lifted 13% to 3.6p per share.
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> Alan Oscroft does not own any shares mentioned in this article.