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Why William Hill, BowLeven, and Dart Group Should Beat the FTSE 100 Today

By Alan Oscroft - Apr 19, 2013 at 8:09AM

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William Hill, BowLeven, and Dart Group shares are rising.

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is having another go at recovering some of its recent losses today after yesterday's initially upbeat trading session turned tail by the close of play. As of 7:35 a.m. EDT, the index of the U.K.'s biggest companies is up 0.64% to 6,284 points, with hopes of further easing across European markets giving it a boost.

There are some individual companies doing well of their own accord. Here are three that are beating the FTSE today.

William Hill
William Hill shares have jumped 3.7% to 405 pence after the firm told us of "strategic progress and profit growth" in a first-quarter update this morning. For the 13 weeks to April 2, revenue for the gambling and gaming operator rose by 15% compared to the same period last year, with operating profit up 8%. And, reflecting the growth in online use, revenue from mobile gaming soared by 298%.

With William Hill's acquisition of Sportingbet's Australian business completed in March, antipodean operations made a big contribution to the figures, accounting for 45% of operating profit in the quarter.

BowLeven (BLVN 0.00%)
Shares in BowLeven have slipped since the oil and gas explorer reported a $9 million first-half loss last month, but they're up 4.8% to 85 pence this morning after we got news of the firm's latest test drilling in Cameroon.

A drill stem test has been performed at the IM-5 well within the Etinde Permit, and "condensate-rich gas flowed on test from both Middle and Intra Isongo intervals confirming commercial production rates." There's an estimated maximum flow rate of 60 million standard cubic feet per day and 7,819 barrels of condensate per day.

Dart Group (JET2 1.95%)
Holidays and food distribution firm Dart Group has seen its shares gain 11.1% to 165 pence this morning, taking the price up more than 120% over the past 12 months. Today's jump was driven by a trading update telling us that the firm had enjoyed lower-than-expected losses during the winter and that full-year profit would be ahead of current market expectations.

We were told, "We are cautiously optimistic about our ability to increase profits in the current financial year, notwithstanding the continuing tough economic environment."

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