3 Shares Beating the FTSE Today

LONDON -- After perking up toward the end of last week, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) dropped back a little today, and at 5,788 it's down 0.53% so far today. There doesn't appear to be any significant economic or business news that might be behind the fall, so maybe the FTSE just doesn't like Mondays. Can't say I blame it.

But even if the index of the biggest U.K. stocks is slow getting off the mark this week, some individual companies are doing just fine. Here are three that are on the up today.

Essar (LSE: ESSR.L  )
Essar Energy gained a nice 5% to 127 pence today after managing to double its interim sales though the expansion of its Indian refining capacity and the acquisition of a U.K. facility. Revenue for the six months to Sept. 30 rose by 97% to $12.8 billion.

Although Essar recorded a pre-tax loss, that did include considerable one-offs, including the costs of commissioning refinery capacity, and the firm reckons it achieved adjusted EBITDA of $582.6 million, nearly tripling the figure from the comparable period last year.

Cranswick (LSE: CWK.L  )
Pork processor Cranswick released positive interim results that gave the shares an 10.5% boost to 817 pence. Although higher pig prices -- which are carrying on into the second half -- have been a concern, the firm managed a 21% rise in pre-tax profit to 22.5 million pounds in the first half.

The interim dividend has been lifted from 9 pence to 9.4 pence per share, and net debt is down to 32.2 million pounds from 48.2 million pounds at the same stage last year. Forecasts for the full year suggest a dividend yield of around 4%, with the shares on a P/E of less than 10.

Betfair (LSE: BET.L  )
Betfair Group has been dogged by uncertainties over regulation in Greece, and as a result it has decided to exit from that market until the rules are clarified. As Betfair had been expecting to see a reasonable contribution to profits from Greece, the shares initially fell but recovered to 758 pence (up 0.7%) by early afternoon. Presumably, the market values the reduction in uncertainty over the possibility of greater, but riskier, profits.

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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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