LONDON -- News of measures to tackle an overheating housing sector in China raised fresh fears of a commodities demand slowdown, pushing down shares in the U.K.'s big miners and depressing the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) by 0.4% to 6,353 points as of 7:55 a.m. EST.
A falling index is perhaps easier for individual shares to beat. Here are three managing to do that today.
British American Tobacco (LSE:BATS) (NYSE:BTI)
Results from British American Tobacco pleased the market last week, sending the share price to a 65-week closing high of 3,508 pence on Friday -- and the price has smashed through that today, climbing another 1.3% to 3,553 pence. The company earned enough to raise its full-year dividend by 7% to 134.9 pence per share.
But though profits were up, actual cigarette volumes fell by 1.6%, and global growth in smoking has been slowing dramatically in recent years as health education reaches developing markets. Have we reached market saturation? It must surely come.
Smiths Group (LSE:SMIN)
Smiths Group shares have been storming ahead over the past few months, gaining more than 25% since mid-November. That includes a further 9 pence today, beating last Friday's record close and taking the shares to a new 52-week high of 1,275 pence.
The last three years have seen steady growth, and there's more forecast: The City is expecting earnings growth of 3% for the year to July 2013, putting the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of 13, with a dividend yield of about 3% in the cards.
Property website operator Rightmove climbed to a new closing high on Friday after posting 119.4 million pounds in revenue, with operating profit up 26% to 87.5 million pounds and basic earnings per share up 31% to 65.7 pence -- all records for the company. The full-year dividend was boosted by 18% to 23 pence per share.
After years of double-digit earnings growth, that is set to slow a little for 2013 to 8%, putting the shares on a forward P/E of 25. But in the longer term, any upturn in the housing market would be good news for Rightmove.
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