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Why Rio Tinto plc, Britvic Plc and John Wood Group PLC Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

After gaining 75 points yesterday, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) looks like it’s having a good time today too, up 67 points by late morning to 6,517. Last week’s US jobs data, coupled with indications that the UK economy is looking better, appear to be behind the positive sentiment. And perhaps surprisingly, the beleagured mining sector is figuring amongst the top gains so far today.

With the FTSE up around 1%, it’s perhaps hard to see which shares are likely to beat it today, but here are three from the various indices that are in with a good chance:

Rio Tinto

Amongst the big miners rising today, Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) (NYSE: RIO.US)  is the only one that has released any significant news, as the firm told us that it has received permission from the Mongolian government to commence copper concentrate shipments from Oyu Tolgoi, the country’s biggest copper mine. The mine is expected to produce around 430,000 tonnes of copper per year, plus about 425,000 ounces of gold.

The Rio Tinto price? It’s up 70p (2.6%) to 2,739p at the time of writing, which is a welcome bit of news for the Fool’s Beginners’ Portfolio, though it is largely due to the sector as a whole being on the up today. The share price has been in a bit of a slump since the start of the year, but it’s actually only 10% down over the past 12 months.

Britvic

Shares in soft drinks maker Britvic (LSE: BVIC) picked up 5.5p (1.1%) this morning to 526p, after the Competition Commission announced that it has formally approved a possible merger between Britvic and AG Barr — the Commission has come to the conclusion that a merger would not significantly damage competition.

Whether any merger will actually happen is an entirely different question, of course, as the original merger plan lapsed in February when it was referred to the Competition Commission. And chairman Gerald Corbett told us that although any new proposal would be considered, “Britvic is in a very different position to last summer when the merger was agreed” and that the firm’s “prospects as a stand-alone company are bright”.

John Wood

John Wood Group (LSE: WG) shares gained 12.5p (1.5%) to 877p after the company told us it has contracts in the Gulf of Mexico worth around $550m per year. The oil & gas services company is apparently supporting “almost 70 operators on around 1,400 manned and unmanned platforms”.

How does that translate into profits? Well, there’s a rise in earnings per share of more than 30% being forecast for the year ending December 2013, which would put the shares on a P/E of around 13. The share price hasn’t risen much over the past 12 months — it could be worth a closer look.

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> Alan does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.