LONDON -- Yesterday I wondered how long it would be before the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) broke through the 6,200 level. The answer came shortly after the markets opened this morning. The index of top U.K. stocks was boosted by rises from the mining sector and Vodafone, hitting a new 52-week high of 6,265 by 10:10 a.m. EST.
That early boost came despite initial market gloom surrounding computing giant Apple, whose latest figures came in below expectations.
Which companies are helping the various FTSE indexes to new records? Here are three responding well to news today.
Success at easyJet continues, with revenue for the quarter to Dec. 31 climbing by 9.2% to 833 million pounds. That came from two sources: Revenue per seat grew by 3.9% (or 8% on a constant-currency basis), and the total number of passengers was up 6.2% to 13.7 million.
The news gave the shares a further boost, taking them up another 5.3% in early trading to 900 pence. The price has now more than doubled over the past 12 months and is up 2.6-fold since the start of the current bull run in September.
Ladbrokes (LSE: LAD)
Ladbrokes shares have picked up 3.8% to reach a new 52-week high of 207 pence. The price has now risen by 45% over the past 12 months, but even after that, expected figures for December 2012 put it on a price-to-earnings ratio of only 11.5, with a 4.3% dividend yield expected.
The reason for today's rise? Ladbrokes has agreed upon the acquisition of Global Betting Exchange Alderney, the operator of the Betdaq betting exchange, for an initial payment of 30 million euros.
Defense countermeasures specialist Chemring Group has gained 6% to reach 299 pence today despite results for the year ended Oct. 31 2012 showing a 78% fall in pre-tax profit. After recent profit warnings, a big fall was expected, but the firm told us that the underlying figure represented a much smaller 42% drop.
Although the company still expects a tough 2013, the appointment of new chief executive Mark Papworth to replace the ousted David Price, as well as the company's subsequent plans to cut costs, integrate some parts of its businesses, and simplify management, have brought some optimism.
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