LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) is doing the same thing it did yesterday -- nothing much. The index of top U.K. shares did reach 6,483 shortly after opening, but by mid-morning it's down a mere seven points to 6,451. This lack of action comes despite a number of upbeat earnings reports and expectations of a further interest rate cut from the European Central Bank.
But which companies are beating the FTSE today? We take a look at three.
News of a $17 billion first-quarter profit sent BP shares up 3.6% to 473 pence this morning. That did, however, include a gain from the sale of BP's interest in TNK-BP to Rosneft. After excluding that, we saw an underlying profit for the quarter of $4.2 billion. That's up on a fourth-quarter 2012 profit of $3.9 billion but below the $4.7 billion the firm recorded in the equivalent first quarter of last year.
Cash flow was up, enabling a quarterly dividend of $0.09 per share to be announced. And after the TNK-BP sale, BP intends to return up to $8 billion to shareholders: A share buyback program will take place over the next 12 to 18 months.
First-quarter results sent Lloyds Banking Group shares up 4.2% to 56 pence after the bailed-out bank reported a pre-tax profit of 2 billion pounds. That's up from just 280 million pounds in the same period of 2012, though that quarter was hit by the costs of mis-selling and other impairments.
But there was a genuine underlying improvement, with chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio saying, "Margin increased, and costs and impairments continued to fall rapidly, with this progress underpinned by a further strengthening of our balance sheet."
ASOS shares had been falling back from the 3,450 pence level they reached at the start of April, closing on 3,076 pence last night. But by mid-morning today the price has risen 3.6% to 3,188 pence after the online fashionista released another cracking set of interim results.
With overall revenue up 33% to 360 million pounds (and international retail sales up 39% to 215 million pounds), pre-tax profit gained 19% to 25.7 million pounds and underlying EPS perked up 14% to 23.3 pence.
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