The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) put in its third week of losses in a row last week, dropping just eight points. And it’s opened this week in pessimistic mood too, losing a further 43 points to 6,449 by midday. Fear of escalation of the conflict in Syria is being blamed for today’s European skittishness, wiping out the upbeat economic sentiment that was starting to encroach on the markets at the tail-end of last week.
But some individual companies are on the up today. Here are three looking likely to beat the FTSE:
Shares in Bunzl picked up 20p (1.5%) to 1,374p this morning, after the outsourcer and distributor released first-half figures and announced a couple of acquisitions. For the six months to 30 June, revenue at constant exchange gained 11% to £2.96bn, with adjusted pre-tax profit up 10% to £168m. With adjusted earnings per share up 10% to 37.1p, the interim dividend was lifted 14% to 10p per share.
Bunzl has also added redistribution company Espomega of Mexico to its stable, and has snapped up The Fulfilment Store, a Rugby-based firm engaged in promotional and marketing products.
Interim results sent Petrofac shares up 63p (5%) to 1,328p, despite the oil services firm telling us of a 12.5% fall in revenue to $2.8bn and a drop in net profit of 25% to $243m. Earnings per share for the half also fell, by 25% to 70.72 cents. However, due to the phasing of project deliveries, 2013 results are “expected to be significantly weighted towards the second half of the year“, and this is all in line with expectations.
The first-half dividend was raised 5% to 22 cents per share, with chief executive Ayman Asfari saying that “We look ahead with confidence in our ability to deliver a strong second half performance and achieve our guidance of modest growth in net profit for 2013“.
Office services firm Regus (LSE: RGU) also released first-half results today, and the result was a 1.1p (0.6%) gain in the share price to 186.5p — that’s modest, but so far it looks comfortably ahead of the FTSE. Although reported figures are pretty flat, with pre-tax profit down 3% to £31.3m, underlying operating profit was said to have gained 22% to £41.7m with underlying operating margins steady at 5.6%. The firm increased its half-time dividend by 10% to 10p per share.
Regus shares are now up nearly 90% over the past 12 months, with two years of strong earnings growth forecast,
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.
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