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Why Legal & General, Kingfisher, and Bellway Should Beat the FTSE 100 Today

Tuesday - 3/26/2013, 9:28am  ET

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 has stabilized a bit today, up a single point to 6,379 as of 9: a.m. EDT. But the index of top U.K. shares seems unable to regain its winning run of closes above the 6,400 level as eurozone fears in the wake of the Cyprus debacle continue to weigh on the markets.

But there are individual constituents of the various indexes doing well. Here are three set to bet the FTSE today.

Legal & General
Legal & General Group shares gained 1.4% to 170 pence after the company announced the acquisition of the remaining 75% of the Cofunds financial-services investment platform that it did not already own. The deal, for 131 million pounds in cash, values Cofunds Holdings at 175 million pounds.

Mark Gregory, Legal & General's savings chief, said, "The projected growth in the investment platform market is substantial and we expect Cofunds to be a major beneficiary of this growth."

Shares in Kingfisher have picked up 1.3% to 287 pence, even though adjusted pre-tax profit for the year to Jan. 31 fell 11% to 715 million pounds. But that was in line with analysts' forecasts for the owner of B&Q and Screwfix, and a 7% lift of the annual dividend to 9.46 pence per share was ahead of expectations -- that's a 3.3% yield from shares on a P/E of 12.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said, "We have had a tough year, affected by unfavorable foreign exchange, record adverse weather in the U.K. and declining underlying markets in each of our three key territories." However, he told us that, looking head, he has confidence in the company's "optimising the generation and use of cash."

Homebuilder Bellway has seen its shares rise 1.7% this morning, taking them up about 40% over the past 12 months. Interim results showed a 9.6% rise in revenue to 502.5 million pounds, with pre-tax profit up 47.5% to 59.9 million pounds. Earnings per share rose by 50.4% to 37.9 pence, and the first-half dividend was lifted by 50% to 9 pence per share.

Over the period, Bellway sold 2,597 homes -- up from 2,455 in the same period last year -- and enjoyed a 2.6% higher average selling price of 187,426 pounds. The firm also boosted its investment in land to 145 million pounds from 105 million pounds in 2012.

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This article was originally published as Why Legal & General, Kingfisher, and Bellway Should Beat the FTSE 100 Todayon

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