3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) isn't really moving today, standing just 10 points down to 5,727 as of 9:35 a.m. EST. The index of the U.K.'s biggest stocks slid last week on weakening economic conditions but has recovered a little so far this week.

But that doesn't stop individual companies in the various indexes from doing well. Here are three whose shares are up today.

easyJet (LSE: EZJ.L  )
easyJet perked up 5.1% to 686 pence after the budget airline reported a 28% rise in pre-tax profit to 317 million pounds for the year to September. That came from 11.6% growth in revenue to 3.85 billion pounds, prompting the company to more than double its dividend to 21.5 pence per share -- a yield of 3%.

Investors have done well since founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou led a revolt against the company's ambitious expansion plans, instead championing a drive to improve current shareholder value. The share price has nearly doubled over the past 12 months and has risen nearly threefold since late 2009. And now there are worthwhile dividends, too.

Homeserve (LSE: HSV.L  )
Homeserve, the home maintenance insurance group hit by FSA investigations into its policy-selling practices, hit back with a strong set of interim figures today and saw its share price rise 8.9% to 243 pence. An 8% rise in revenue to 229.6 million pounds for the six months to September helped boost adjusted pre-tax profit by 9% to 25.6 million pounds.

The firm is also reducing its U.K. business in favor of beefing up its overseas expansion: We saw a decrease of 17% in U.K. customer numbers and a 20% rise in U.S. customers. The share price is pretty flat over the year, though it has regained the 40% loss it suffered this summer.

Premier Foods (LSE: PFD.L  )
Premier Foods is also up today, gaining 2.9% to 95 pence after the firm announced a "further step to build value in bread." The company, which owns the Hovis brand, will close two more bakeries, consolidate production, and simplify its distribution in order to cut costs and improve profitability.

The moves should not affect this year's profit, but forecasts already suggest earnings-per-share growth of about 15%, with the shares on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of less than four.

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Alan 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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