The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is turning negative towards the end of the week, dropping 23 points to 6,612 approaching midday, after earnings from some tech stocks in the US disappointed the markets and with Southern European economies still looking shaky. But if the index of top UK shares can maintain its current level, it should finish on an up for the fourth week in a row.
With the FTSE falling, it doesn’t take much in the way of a rise to beat it. Here are three shares achieving that so far today:
Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD) shares picked up a little this morning, gaining just 1.7p (1%) to 193p, after continuing tough conditions in Europe took the shine of its first-quarter update. Revenues from Northern and Central Europe dropped 3% on an organic basis, with Southern Europe seeing a fall of 14.4%. On the other hand, service revenues from emerging markets are continuing to grow strongly, with Turkey up 15.5% and India up 13.8%.
Chief executive Vittorio Colao told us that “Although regulation, competitive pressures and weak economies, particularly in Southern Europe, continue to restrict revenue growth, we continue to lay strong foundations for the longer term“.
We had a modest gain from SSE (LSE: SSE) this morning, with its share price up 7p (0.4%) to 1,628p approaching midday. The news today was of a new revolving credit facility for the company, of £1.3bn, provided by a group of 10 banks. The new deal replaces a current arrangement for £900m which was due to expire in August 2015, and will run until July 2018.
Overall, SSE shares have gained 15% over the past 12 months, and are on a forward P/E of under 14 with a 5.5% dividend forecast, and that seems like a pretty modest valuation for a company paying such a reliable dividend.
Another company responding well to refinancing news this morning was Lamprell (LSE: LAM), whose shares picked up 6.25p (4.3%) to 151.5p. The firm, which provides engineering services to the oil & gas industry, confirmed that it has signed an agreement to finalise a new secured banking facility — there are a few conditions, but those should be settled in the next few weeks.
Lamprell shares have recovered well since a slump late last year, and are currently around 20% up over 12 months. After a pre-tax loss last year, the firm is expected to return to a very small profit in 2013, with further forecast growth for 2014 putting the shares on a P/E of 11.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Vodafone.