Why National Grid plc, Hammerson plc And Hiscox Ltd Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

National Grid plc (LON: NG), Hammerson plc (LON: HMSO) and Hiscox Ltd (LON: HSX) start the week well.

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The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is recovering slightly today, up 23 points to 6,577 by early afternoon, after putting in its worst weekly performance for more than a month last week — a fall of 76 points after four weeks of rises. There’s little news driving the FTSE today, other than a handful of company reports.

Here are three members of the various indices that look set to beat the FTSE today:

National Grid

An interim management statement from National Grid gave the share price of the electricity and gas supplier a small boost, taking it up 2.5p (0.3%) to 763p by early afternoon. The firm told us of a good start to the year, with chief executive Steve Holliday saying “we are maintaining our outlook for 2013/14, reflecting the expected delivery of another year of solid operating and financial performance.

The company expects to invest around £3.6bn to £3.9bn in the 2013-14 year, in line with its plans to grow its regulated assets by around 6% per year. Based on current City forecasts National grid shares are on a forward P/E of 14 for the year to March 2014. For a company paying a dividend of around 5.5%, that looks like good value to me.


First-half results gave Hammerson (LSE: HMSO) a modest boost, of 5p (1%) to 526p. The real estate investment trust, which specialises in shopping centres and other retail property, reported a 9.9% increase in net rental income with a 2.5% like-for-like boost. Earnings per share were up 8.8% to 11.1p, and the interim dividend was lifted by 7.8% to 8.3p per share.

Speaking of “encouraging signs of improvement in macro-economic conditions in the UK“, chief executive David Atkins said “We […] have confidence in our continued ability to secure strong growth in earnings and dividends over the medium term.”


Insurer Hiscox (LSE: HSX) saw its shares bounding up 45p (7.4%) today to 656p, after the release of impressive first-half results. With a 12.3% increase in gross premiums written to £1.02bn, the company reported a 44% rise in pre-tax profit to £181m — a low exposure to recent catastrophes helped somewhat.

With earnings per share up 32% to 42.4p, the company raised its interim dividend by 16.7% to 7p per share. A similar rise in the final dividend would see a full-year payment of 21p per share for a yield of 3.2% on the current share price. Hiscox shares are up around 45% over the past 12 months.

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

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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