The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) picked up yesterday afternoon to end just 17 points down on 6,437, after dipping below 6,400 during the day. But that last-minute recovery has been lost today, with the index down 45 points to 6,392 by late morning, and down 62 points so far this week.
The mining sector is showing some weakness again today, with the big players down around 1.5%, and that’s enough to drag the index down.
If we want any good news, we have to look outside the top index today. Here are three from the FSTE 250 having a good day:
Shares in polymer specialist Victrex (LSE: VCT) got a 22p (1.4%) boost to 1,586p on the release of a trading update ahead of full-year results due on 10 December. After a second half that was described as “robust”, sales volumes should be slightly ahead of last year at 2,920 tonnes.
Current forecasts suggest just a 1% fall in earnings per share, so some will be hoping for a little better than that now. The dividend yield is predicted to come in around 2.6%.
Looking forward, the firm told us that its October book is “reassuring” and that it is optimistic, but remains mindful of the still-tough economic environment out there.
Engineering support firm WS Atkins (LSE: ATK) has pleased its shareholders over the last year with a price rise of around 60%, although that is down from a peak that broke the 75% mark. Today the price picked up again, with a modest 11p (1%) taking it to 1,121p.
The news? A new contract in Saudi Arabia worth £75m. Atkins will be the lead designer for three lines out of six being developed for the Riyadh Metro, as part of a joint venture with Spain’s Typsa.
Earnings are expected to be flat over the next two years, with Atkins’ P/E hovering around 13, and there’s a dividend yield of 3% forecast for this year.
Talking of impressive price rises, Telecom plus (LSE: TEP) has put in another good 12 months with its share price up nearly 50%. And today saw a very welcome 65p (5.2%) rise to 1,305p after a first-half update told us of “significant acceleration in new customer and service growth“.
The multi-utility firm enjoyed a gain of 20,536 new customers over the six-month period, with total number of services up by 101,447 — annualised, that would represent growth of 17% and 24% respectively.
Such a strong share price performance does come at a price, mind, and the shares are on a forward P/E of 28 now. They’re clearly priced for further growth.
Finally, if you're looking for investments that should take you all the way to a comfortable retirement, I recommend the Fool's special report detailing five blue-chip shares. They'll be familiar names to many, and they've already provided investors with decades of profits.
But the report will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your hands on these great ideas -- they could set you on the road to long-term riches.
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.