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Why Prudential plc, Petra Diamonds Limited And Sirius Minerals PLC Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

Despite a few positive earnings reports, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is slipping today after Japanese GDP growth came in lower than expected and markets are cautious ahead of the next round of eurozone updates. By mid-afternoon, London’s top-tier index is down 19 points to 6,564.

But which shares are heading in the opposite direction? Here are three from the various indices that are on the up today:

Prudential

Prudential (LSE: PRU) shares gained 33p (2.8%) to 1,219p on the release of first-half results this morning, which showed operating profit up 22% to £1.4bn. Gains came from the aging “baby boomer” generation in the US, with new insurance business in Asia also providing a boost. Chief executive Tidjane Thiam told us that the firm’s strategy “positions Prudential to perform well through challenging economic conditions, with significant upside as the economic conditions improve“.

Even though the price has soared by 50% over the past 12 months, Prudential shares currently trade on a forward P/E of a shade under 14, with two years of 10% earnings growth predicted.

Petra Diamonds

Delvers for sparkly and shiny things have been going through a bit of a lean patch of late, but Petra Diamonds (LSE: PDL) glittered a little this morning with a share price rise of 2p (1.6%) to 128p — taking the price up 30% over the past 12 months. The driver today was an update on the company’s full-year guidance, with the firm now predicting the production of around 3 million carats for the year to June 2014, which is a 12% rise on 2013’s level of 2.67 million.

With profits expected to ramp up in the coming year after a flat year to June 2013, forecasts for 2014 put the shares on a P/E of around 12.

Sirius Minerals

Sirius Minerals (LSE: SXX) has suffered a few blows in recent weeks, with objections delaying the hoped-for approval of its York Potash project — and the share price has taken a pummeling as some investors fear the worst. But there was a little respite today in the shape of £25m in new financing, secured with an institutional investor based in New York — it should significantly reduce risks associated with the York delays.

It’s hard to value Sirius shares right now as there aren’t any profits expected for a few years yet, but if the York project does get the go-ahead, now could turn out to have been one of the best times to invest.

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