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Why Bovis Homes Group plc, Hikma Pharmaceuticals Plc And Rotork plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

After closing last week up 160, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has picked up a further 24 points by mid-morning to 6,446, after US markets ended the week with a late surge. Banks and financials are among those leading the way for the UK’s top index, on a morning when fallers are scarce.

There are few tidings concerning companies in the FTSE 100, but a number of FTSE 250 shares are benefiting from good news. Here are three that are off to a strong start:

Bovis Homes

The optimism continues for the housebuilding sector, as a first-half trading update from Bovis Homes Group (LSE: BVS) pushed the share price up 30p (3.9%) to 805p in early trading — and it’s now nearly 75% up over the past 12 months.

Bovis has seen a 40% increase in the number of private reservations over the same period last year, and has invested further in its land bank, buying up 2,767 new plots. And net debt as of 30 June stood at a pretty modest £48m. Chief executive David Ritchie said “With the positive progress in executing its growth strategy, the Group is well positioned to deliver higher shareholder returns“.

First-half results are due on 19 August.

Hikma

Shares in Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LSE: HIK) picked up 79p (7.9%) to 1,073p on the release of a follow-up to May’s interim update. Since then, we were told, “...all of our businesses have continued to perform well“, and the firm has upgraded its full-year guidance. Revenue for the year to December is now expected to grow by 17%, up from earlier predictions of 13%.

Prior to today, City analysts were already forecasting a rise in earnings per share of better than 20%, putting the shares on a forward P/E of 20, and we should expect that to be revised now. Dividend yields should be only around 1.3%, but they should be well-covered and aren’t bad for a company showing good growth signs.

Rotork

News of an acquisition sent the price of Rotork (LSE: ROR) up 56p (2%) to 2,853p. The price has been up and down since the beginning of 2013, and overall it’s around 40% up over the past 12 months.

The actuator manufacturer has bought up Bath-based Flowco Ltd, a valve and actuator service company, though we were not told the price. Chief executive Peter France told us that “Flowco will further enhance our service offering in the southern part of the UK market“.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.