The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has made a limp start to the New Year, dropping 20 points to end last week on 6,731 — but trading volumes were low, and there was little in the way of company news as we await Christmas trading figures from our big names.
But we did have a few movers. Here are three that saw their share prices rising during the week:
NEXT (LSE: NXT) delighted its shareholders by recording fourth-quarter sales “ahead of the top end of our previous guidance” and declaring a special dividend. Sales for the quarter climbed by 11.9% overall, with NEXT Directory grabbing a 21% rise. Year-to-date that adds up to a total 5% sales rise, with NEXT Directory up 12%.
And with cash generation going strong, the firm is set to make a special 50p-per-share payment on 3 February, with an ex-dividend date of 15 January.
The two announcements, both on Friday, pushed the shares to a weekly gain of 615p (11.2%) to end on 6,085p.
The UK’s housebuilders are picking up again, as Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) led the pack last week with a 22p (6.5%) rise to 360.7p.
We’d earlier had Persimmon tell us that ‘Help to buy’ sells were off to a muted start, but last week the Nationwide Building Society reported an 8.4% rise in house prices during the year, with a 14.9% rise in the fourth quarter in London.
Barratt shares are now up 70% over the past 12 months, after the company reported an 80% rise in EPS for the year to June 2013.
After a prolonged slump, shares in Fresnillo (LSE: FRES) are continuing their tentative recovery with a second week of gains — this time a rise of 36.5p (5%) to 771.5p.
The slump in precious metals prices has hit the silver and gold miner hard, and led to a slashing of the 2013 interim dividend. But a one-off special dividend of 22.39 cents per share announced in October has helped.
There’s still a way to go, though, with the shares on a P/E of nearly 28 on expectations for the year to December 2013.
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.