3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) has carried on sliding today, dropping 29 points to 5,693 by lunchtime. News of the eurozone falling back into a recession didn't help after figures showed the euro economies shrinking by 0.2% during July, August, and September. The third-quarter decline followed a 0.1% contraction during the previous three months.

But whatever the folks across the Channel are getting up to, there are always U.K.-listed companies with share prices that are rising. Here are three with good news that look set to beat the FTSE today.

WS Atkins (LSE: ATK.L  )
WS Atkins, an engineering and design consultancy on our Beginners' Portfolio watchlist, saw its shares respond well to the release of interim figures. The price gained 9% to 696 pence after the shares had been drifting lower on fears of a new construction slowdown.

Reported pretax profits gained 14% to 50 million pounds as Atkins boosted its staff count by 2% during the period. The interim payment was lifted 2.6% to 10 pence per share, and full-year forecasts suggest a dividend yield of about 5%.

Kier Group (LSE: KIE.L  )
An interim update gave Kier Group a welcome boost, sending the shares up 3% to 1,140 pence after a price slump had seen the price fall around 20% in the past couple of months. Kier is another name that has been hit by the construction downturn, but the firm appears to be on course to meet its current expectations.

Though business has been tough, Kier has continued to secure new work, adding 400 million pounds to its pipeline since July 1. The second half is expected to be better than the first, too, and the shares, on a P/E of only 8.5, could be a bargain.

Invensys (LSE: ISYS.L  )
Shares in Invensys gained 2% today to reach 221 pence after the software and technology company issued an upbeat interim statement. Though revenue for the six months to September fell 2%, operating profit gained 2% to 102 million pounds, with underlying earnings per share up 10% to 7.6 pence. The interim dividend was lifted 6% to 1.75 pence per share as well.

The full-year dividend yield is expected to exceed the 2% level, but with decent earnings growth forecast for this year and next, the shares don't look overvalued from a growth perspective.

Gains from shares such as these can all play their part in making you your first million. But the real secret to becoming rich from shares is simple long-term investing in fundamentally sound companies and letting steady growth and dividends power your wealth upward. If you don't think a making million is feasible, read this free Motley Fool report and see if you change your mind. The report won't cost you a penny, so you've got nothing to lose by clicking here while the offer remains available.

Alan Oscroft does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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