It’s looking like another gloomy Monday for the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE), 15 points down on 6,485 approaching midday and following on from an 83-point loss last week. And with fears of a scaling-down of economic stimulus measures in response to recent upbeat news dominating thought at the moment, we could easily be in for the FTSE’s third week of losses in a row.
But there are still some glimmers of optimism amongst individual shares. Here are three from the various indices that are picking up today:
First-half figures sent Bovis Homes Group shares up 8.3p (1.1%) to 787p this morning, as the housebuilder reported a 17% rise in housing revenue to £183m with pre-tax profit up 19% to £18.6m. Earnings per share (EPS) gained 26% to 10.8p and the firm lifted its interim dividend by 33% to 4p per share. An average sales price of £188,500 was achieved, up 15%, and the number of completed homes rose 2% to 963.
Bovis shares are up around 60% over the past 12 months, with a 35% rise in EPS forecast for the full year — and that doesn’t look at all unlikely now.
Shares in Kentz Corporation soared 106p (22%) this morning to 581p, after the engineering services firm confirmed it has been the target of one bid and may become the target of another. The confirmed bid, from Amec, was described by the firm as “a highly conditional and unsolicited proposal“. It valued the shares at 565-580p, and the board of Kentz “concluded that it undervalued the company and therefore unanimously rejected the approach“.
Austrian firm M&W Group has also presented a possible bid, but no firm offer has come from it — Kentz told us that it is not considering it.
Specialist insurer and underwriter Amlin (LSE: AML) published its interim figures this morning, and the result was a modest share price rise of 2.5p (1%) to 394p even though pre-tax profit was reported to be down 12% to £161m. There were catastrophe losses in the period, with none at the same stage last year, but at £32m they were not too damaging.
Earnings per share dipped 17% to 28.2p, but the firm was happy enough to lift its dividend by 4% to 7.8p per share. Going on current forecasts, Amlin shares are on a forward P/E of only around 8.5. There’s also a dividend yield in excess of 6% expected, and it should be covered about 1.8 times by earnings.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.