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Why BG Group plc, Anglo American plc And Pearson plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is bobbing around uncertainly today — it opened ahead of yesterday’s close, but approaching midday it has reversed and stands eight points down on the day at 6,580. Hopes that an upbeat Friday might result in the FTSE’s fifth weekly gain in a row appear dashed, with the index down 51 points on the week as I write.

But which companies are ahead of their peers? Here are three from the top flight index that are climbing today:

BG Group

Shares in BG Group got a 13.5p (1.1%) boost to 1,199p, after the oil & gas giant hiked its first-half dividend by 10% to 13.07 cents per share. Production did fall, by 2%, but that was in line with expectations. Earnings per share dropped 3% to 63.8 cents, but the dividend is still very well covered.

Chief executive Chris Finlayson summed things up by saying “We have successfully delivered all our key milestones for the first half of 2013 as well as making good progress on the remaining milestones for the year. At the same time, we are making good headway on our major growth projects“.

Anglo American

Interim results gave Anglo American (LSE: AAL) shares a 21.5p (1.5%) boost to 1,411p this morning, adding a bit more impetus to the mini-recovery they have staged this month. Falling commodities prices have taken their toll, and underlying operating profit for the period fell by 15% to $3.3bn, although that was offset to some degree by increased production.

But to put things into some kind of human perspective, “Eight employees and contractors lost their lives, and a further two remain missing, in work related incidents“, with the firm saying it continues to strive for “zero harm“.

Anglo American shares are on a forward P/E of 11 based on full-year forecasts, with a 4% dividend yield predicted.

Pearson

Educational publisher Pearson put in a good set of interim results today, and saw its shares gain 83p (6.6%) to 1,335p. Sales for the period were up 5% at constant exchange rates, to £2.8bn. Adjusted operating profit dropped by £50m to £137m, but that did include £37m in restructuring charges and “investments to support new product launches in the second half“.

That led to EPS falling by a third to 9.9p, but the interim dividend was lifted 7% to 16p per share. The firm’s full-year outlook remains unchanged with adjusted EPS expected to be “broadly level with 2012“.

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