LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) has topped its recent high mark, up 0.36% to 6,069 points as of 8:45 a.m. EST. It has been held back from further optimism, apparently, by suggestions from the Federal Reserve that the Fed's "quantitative easing" stimulus program might be at an end.
There have been some modest gains among individual companies today. Let's look at three whose prices are rising.
Balfour Beatty (LSE:BBY)
Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty got a boost today after telling us of a new contract win for five years of highway maintenance for Wiltshire Council. News of the deal, worth 150 million pounds, only added 1% to the share price to bring it to 285 pence. But any positive news is good for Balfour Beatty, whose share price plummeted in early November after the company warned that it was facing economic difficulties in its markets.
The price has already regained more than half its loss, and even with forecasts downgraded after the warning, the shares are on a modest price-to-earnings ratio of eight, with a 5% dividend yield expected.
Shares in engineer Costain Group are up picked up 0.2% after the firm released a trading update. The previous update in November was positive, and since then the company tells us things are still going in line with expectations. At the end of the year, the value of Costain's order book stood at 2.4 billion pounds (up from 2.5 billion pounds at the same stage last year), with 90% of that being repeat business. More than 700 million pounds in orders have been taken for 2013 already.
Full-year results are due to be released on March 6, with analysts expecting a 4.4% dividend yield from shares on a P/E of 8.
Marshalls saw its shares tick up 1.2% on the release of a trading update. The company, which makes various landscape, driveway, and garden products, recorded revenue of 309 million pounds for the year to Dec. 31. That's down 7% from last year but equal to 2010 revenue. The company blames "prolonged periods of heavy rainfall during the normally busy summer months."
Marshalls' cost-reduction reorganization was also completed ahead of schedule and is already delivering savings. Year-end net debt is down to 64 million pounds from 77 million pounds a year ago.
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