LONDON -- After closing last week just short of the 6,500 level, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) dropped a bit today, falling 32 points to close at 6,458. The controversial planned bailout of Cyprus, involving a one-off tax of up to 10% on bank deposits, has led to a fresh wave of fears and driven stock markets down across Europe.
But which individual companies within the various indexes beat the market? Here are three that outpaced the FTSE 100 today.
Berkeley Group shares picked up 3% to 2,036 pence, taking them about 45% higher over the past 12 months. Today's jump was prompted by a management statement that said the firm was still on target to return 568 million pounds to shareholders, with an interim dividend of 15 pence per share payable on April 19 covering some 20 million pounds.
Even after the past year's share price appreciation, forecasts put the shares on a P/E of 14 for the year to April, falling to 12 on 2014 estimates, which does not seem unduly stretching. And the dividend is also on the way back after the firm's restructuring, with a yield of 1.6% expected this year and 2% next.
Interim results sent shares in Nanoco up 3.7% to 190 pence, adding to a 150% rise over the past year. The nanotechnology company revealed that it had signed a deal with Dow Chemical to manufacture and sell "cadmium-free quantum dots" for the display industry. Nanoco chairman Peter Rowley described the agreement as "transformational."
At the end of the group's financial year, on 31 January, Nanoco had cash and equivalents of £12.5 million, down £3 million from six months previously. Profits aren't expected for at least another couple of years, but the group seems to have enough cash for now.
The shares of FastJet climbed 2.3% to 2.7 pence today following news that the airline could acquire low-cost South African rival 1 Time. FastJet filed a letter of intent with 1 Time's liquidators in Johannesburg, which is hoped will help cement a deal with creditors. FastJet's chief executive, Ed Winter, described the move as "a very significant step" toward serving South Africa.
The AIM-traded company is not yet profitable, and there are no forecasts currently available, but could this be a nice opportunity for the bold? That's for you to decide.
When we see stock markets becoming bullish, attention must surely turn to investing in growth possibilities (though a side helping of dividends is always a welcome addition). But finding companies that have not yet achieved their full potential is not always easy, which is why the Motley Fool's best analysts have put their heads together to bring you their top growth selection for 2013. You can find out what the selection is completely free of charge, but the report will be available for a limited period only. So click here to enjoy your copy today.