LONDON -- The FTSE 100 dipped a little yesterday to close at 6,277 points. But today it has returned to its recent upward trend, and at the time of writing it has bounced back past 6,300, standing 29 points up at 6,306.
It's been a quiet week in terms of economic news, and the index of top U.K. stocks seems to be moving upward largely on continuing bullish global sentiment. And we're getting plenty of company news these days, which is helping individual constituents of the various indexes to power ahead. Here are three on the up today.
BT Group is sitting on a nice early gain, up 5.6% to 262.5 pence after it released impressive third-quarter figures. The shares had already been rising in anticipation and are now up more than 25% over the past 12 months. Although revenue is down 7% to 13.5 billion pounds for the nine months to Dec. 31, pre-tax profit is up 8% to 1.9 billion pounds, and we have a 9% rise in adjusted earnings per share to 18.4 pence. Full-year expectations remain unchanged.
Connections to latest-generation fiber broadband are going well, too, with chief executive Ian Livingstone telling us: "More than 13 million premises can access our fibre broadband and we are passing around 100,000 additional premises every week. Take-up is growing strongly with around 1.25 million homes and businesses now enjoying the benefits of faster speeds."
It's a good day for telecoms in general, with KCOM Group shares rising 5.7% to 76 pence in early trading. In KCOM's case, it was an upbeat third-quarter update that did the trick, as we were told that "despite continued challenging market conditions, the Group maintained its progress during the third quarter."
The firm has had a number of important contracts renewed and has been named preferred bidder for a managed communications service contract for East Sussex County Council. Full-year forecasts put the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of 9.5, with a dividend yield of 6% expected.
De La Rue
Shares in De La Rue have perked up 6% to 957 pence after the company confirmed that results for the year to March 2013 should be similar to those for next year. The firm's currency division should, we were told, end up printing about 6.4 billion banknotes and producing approximately 9,000 tonnes of banknote paper.
The board also told us that it is still confident of achieving its target of an operating profit of at least 100 million pounds by the year ending March 2014.
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