The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is up a bit today, gaining 17 points to 6,547 at the time of writing, after a couple of bits of good economic news — stronger exports led to the UK’s trade gap shrinking to its lowest in a year, and Chinese growth looks to be strengthening again. The UK’s top-tier index still looks to be heading for a losing week, mind, unless something drastic happens to reverse its overall 101-point fall so far.
But which companies are helping support the FTSE? Here are three whose shares are on the up today:
Tesco shares perked up 4p (1%) to 373p this morning after the supermarket giant told us it has agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Resources Enterprise (CRE) to merge the two retailers’ operations and form the “leading multi-format retailer in China“. Tesco should have a 20% interest in the venture, which would have sales of around £10bn a year.
By partnering with CRE and taking advantage of its “deep understanding of local customers“, Tesco should hopefully avoid the mistakes it made in trying to go it alone in Japan and the US. Tesco shares are now around 12% up over the past 12 months, and on a forward P/E of around 11.
The latest economic data from China showed factory output rising 9.7% in July over a year previously, compared to 8.9% in June. Coupled with steady inflation of 2.7%, the indications are that the country’s slowdown may be coming to an end — which would mean improving demand for commodities, including metals and minerals.
And that provided a boost for the FTSE miners, with Anglo American (LSE: AAL) the biggest winner in the sector today with a 53.5p (3.7%) rise to 1,508p. Up until the start of July, Anglo American had been the biggest loser amongst its peers, dropping 40% in the course of a year, but the shares are now up 20% since their lows of around 1,250p, though they’re are still 25% down over the past 12 months.
Pub operator Enterprise Inns (LSE: ETI) continued yesterday’s strong day with a further rise of 6p (4%) to 154p, on the back of Thursday’s positive trading update. Although like-for-like income fell 2.7% in the 18 weeks to 3 August, that was an improvement on the first half’s 4.2% fall, and the company told us it has returned to a like-for-like rise in the first five weeks of the fourth quarter.
Looking forward, forecasts suggest an overall 8% drop in earnings per share for the full year, though the shares are on a pretty lowly P/E rating of under 8 — but there is a lot of debt still to be taken care of.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco.