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Why National Grid plc, Hammerson plc And Hiscox Ltd Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is recovering slightly today, up 23 points to 6,577 by early afternoon, after putting in its worst weekly performance for more than a month last week — a fall of 76 points after four weeks of rises. There’s little news driving the FTSE today, other than a handful of company reports.

Here are three members of the various indices that look set to beat the FTSE today:

National Grid

An interim management statement from National Grid gave the share price of the electricity and gas supplier a small boost, taking it up 2.5p (0.3%) to 763p by early afternoon. The firm told us of a good start to the year, with chief executive Steve Holliday saying “we are maintaining our outlook for 2013/14, reflecting the expected delivery of another year of solid operating and financial performance.

The company expects to invest around £3.6bn to £3.9bn in the 2013-14 year, in line with its plans to grow its regulated assets by around 6% per year. Based on current City forecasts National grid shares are on a forward P/E of 14 for the year to March 2014. For a company paying a dividend of around 5.5%, that looks like good value to me.

Hammerson

First-half results gave Hammerson (LSE: HMSO) a modest boost, of 5p (1%) to 526p. The real estate investment trust, which specialises in shopping centres and other retail property, reported a 9.9% increase in net rental income with a 2.5% like-for-like boost. Earnings per share were up 8.8% to 11.1p, and the interim dividend was lifted by 7.8% to 8.3p per share.

Speaking of “encouraging signs of improvement in macro-economic conditions in the UK“, chief executive David Atkins said “We […] have confidence in our continued ability to secure strong growth in earnings and dividends over the medium term.”

Hiscox

Insurer Hiscox (LSE: HSX) saw its shares bounding up 45p (7.4%) today to 656p, after the release of impressive first-half results. With a 12.3% increase in gross premiums written to £1.02bn, the company reported a 44% rise in pre-tax profit to £181m — a low exposure to recent catastrophes helped somewhat.

With earnings per share up 32% to 42.4p, the company raised its interim dividend by 16.7% to 7p per share. A similar rise in the final dividend would see a full-year payment of 21p per share for a yield of 3.2% on the current share price. Hiscox shares are up around 45% over the past 12 months.

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