LONDON -- After closing above 6,500 for two days in a row and setting a new intraday five-year record of 6,534 points yesterday, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) is falling back today. By 9:30 a.m. EDT it had dropped 53 points, or 0.81% to 6,457. Still, even if it stays level until the end of the day now, it would still extend its recent record to seven consecutive days above 6,400.
With the FTSE down a bit today, which individual shares are beating it? We look at three.
Prudential (LSE:PRU) (NYSE:PRU)
Full-year results for 2012 sent Prudential shares up 5% to 1,081 pence after the life insurer lifted its dividend while competitors have been cutting theirs. After Aviva and RSA slashed their dividends, Prudential raised its full-year payout by 16% to 29.19 pence per share -- but at 2.7% based on the current share price, the yield is still substantially below that of its rivals.
Prudential enjoyed a 25% gain in operating profit to 2.53 billion pounds, with pre-tax profit up 54% to 2.81 billion pounds and shareholder funds up 21% to 10.4 billion pounds. Asia appeared to be the driving force behind the success, providing new business profit of 1.27 billion pounds. The Prudential share price is now up about 40% over the past 12 months.
Thomas Cook (LSE:TCG)
The recovery at Thomas Cook Group got a major boost this morning as the shares spiked 15.5% to 100 pence. They've now more than quadrupled since their low last year, when some were fearing the high-street travel agent might go bust.
The rise today was spurred by the firm's latest update, telling us of a further 50 million pounds of cost-cutting, taking the total savings so far to 350 million pounds -- and there's more to come. The turnaround in the U.K. is going according to plan, it seems, with Thomas Cook on target to reach an EBIT margin of 5% by the year to September 2015.
Man Group (LSE:EMG)
Full-year results on Feb. 28 didn't do much good for Man Group shares: The price fell 2.6% on the day to 100.3 pence and then dropped further to 96 pence by March 4. But the price then flattened out, and today it has jumped up 4.6% to reach 102.7 pence, perhaps now that the City has had time to digest the investment firm's new dividend policy.
Future annual payouts will be based on a minimum of Man's adjusted management fees -- and on the basis of 2012 fees, the 2013 yield could be in the region of 6% or more. And that would be higher than the brutally slashed dividend that a number of analysts have recently been predicting.
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