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Why Rio Tinto plc, Michael Page International plc And Ricardo plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is flat so far today, just half a point up on yesterday’s close, at 6,587 points at the time of writing. Mining shares are holding up today after a positive update from Rio Tinto, and that has offset a couple of drops in the financial sector.

But which individual shares are on the up today? Here are three from the indices that are off to a good start:

Rio Tinto

It’s rare that we hear of mining shares rising these days, but a second-quarter operations review from Rio Tinto sent the Beginners’ Portfolio constituent up 66p (2.4%) to 2,873p. Output of most of the firm’s commodities was higher than the previous quarter, but the highlight was that production of Rio’s main product, iron ore, was up 8%, with shipments up 7%. During the first half of the year, the firm recorded record volumes of the stuff, with production up 6% and shipments up 4%.

Copper and aluminium volumes slipped a little compared to Q1, by 3% and 1% respectively, but were up over the half by 17% and 7%.

Michael Page

Recruitment firm Michael Page International (LSE: MPI) saw its shares boosted by a first-half update, with a gain of 7.9p (1.8%) to 438p.  We’re not exactly in a recruitment paradise at the moment, but despite tough economic conditions, gross profit for the quarter was only 2% down on the same period last year, at £135.2m — and it was, in fact, up 6.6% on the first quarter.

Michael Page shares have enjoyed something of a comeback of late, gaining around 20% over the past month, and are on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of nearly 29 based on forecasts for the year to December. The current price is clearly based on a longer-term recovery in recruitment markets.

Ricardo

Shares in technical consultancy Ricardo (LSE: RCDO) picked up 20p (5.3%) to 399p on the back of a trading update ahead of its full year to 30 June. After a strong final two months of the year, the company now expects “revenue levels for the full financial year to be above the prior year […] and profit performance to be above market expectations“.

Forecasts before today suggested a 13% rise in earnings per share, so it sounds like we’re going to get more than that now. That consensus put the shares on a P/E of 11, which didn’t seem too pressing, and there’s a dividend yield of 3.5% predicted. Full results are due on 9 September.

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