LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) has gained a few points today, rising 17 points to 5,808, while there's no major news affecting the U.K.'s blue-chip shares at the moment. We've really just seen banks and other financials drifting up a bit.
But there are some individual companies in the various indexes that are set to beat the FTSE today. Let's take a look at three of them.
Laura Ashley (LSE: ALY.L )
Laura Ashley Holdings shot up 8.2% to 24.75 pence this morning after the home furnishings chain released first-half results, taking the shares to a new 52-week high.
With sales for the six months up 7.5% to 145 million pounds and pre-tax profits up 13.7% to 8.3 million pounds, shareholders have plenty of reason to cheer. There was net cash of 27.8 million pounds on the books at the end of the period, and a 1 pence-per-share interim dividend was announced.
Full-year forecasts suggest a dividend of nearly 9%, though that will barely be covered by earnings. Still, with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 11 and all that cash, the shares don't look expensive.
Cluff Gold (LSE: CLF.L )
Cluff Gold rose 4% to 79.4 pence after announcing a strategic alliance with Korean giant Samsung. The deal will provide Samsung with a long-term supply of gold bullion from Cluff's Kalsaka mine in Burkina Faso in return for an immediate $20 million of funding for Cluff in the form of a loan from Samsung and possible further funding for Cluff's development of its Baomahun project in Sierra Leone.
Cluff's gold assets look impressive, too, as the company has strongly increased its revenue from $40 million 2009 -- its first year of production -- to $122 million last year. A small profit is expected this year, but forecasts have that doubling next year, putting the shares on a 2013 P/E of just nine.
Blinkx (LSE: BLNX.L )
Smart-video technologist Blinkx gained 2.3% to 55.25 pence on the news of a new partnership. The deal with SNTV, said to be "the world's leading television sports video news agency," will use Blinkx's AdHoc platform to place contextually relevant advertising on SNTV's video output, with Blinkx taking a share of the revenue.
This is a particularly pleasing development for the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio, which added Blinkx shares in July; they're up 49% since then.
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