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Why BP plc, Aviva plc And BTG plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

Unfurl the bunting, uncork the champagne, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is up today! Well, actually, it’s not that exciting, it’s just a 13 point rise to 6,450, but after four days in a row of falls tha gain makes a nice change.

Tesco is back up a bit after yesterday morning’s drop, and a success for BP has added strength to the FTSE, but the index is still back down to lows not seen since August. Oh, and the US government is still closed for business.

Still, some companies are doing even better than the market. Here are three from the indices that are gaining:

BP

BP enjoyed a rise of 4.9p (1.1%) to 437p after the New Orleans Fifth Circuit appeals court ruled in the group’s favour over a compensation dispute. An earlier ruling had, according to BP, encouraged claims for non-existent damages, but the appeals court has now ordered a halt to payments for unproven claims until they have been properly investigated.

Today’s rise doesn’t actually make much difference, mind, and the share price is still flat over the past 12 months. But shareholders do have a well-covered dividend of around 5.3% to look forward to, from a share on a forward P/E of under 9.

Aviva

Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) shares picked up 10.5p (2.6%) to 418p after the insurer completed the sale of its Aviva USA life and annuities business to Athene Holding. The deal raised $2.6bn (£1.7bn), which is around $0.8bn more than originally anticipated due to improvements over the last three months.

The boost helps push the Aviva price up more than 40% since April’s lows. But even after that, the shares are still trading on a forward P/E of only around 9.5. And though the dividend has been rebased, it’s still expected to deliver a well-covered yield of around 4%.

BTG

BTG (LSE: BTG) lifted its full-year revenue guidance today as a result of acquisitions, and saw its share price gain 6.8p (1.8%) to 387p as a result.

In an update ahead of interim results due on 12 November, the healthcare biotechnologist told us it now expects £275-285m in revenue, ahead of previous predictions of £235-245m. The rest of the firm’s performance is in line with expectations, and the integration of acquired businesses is reportedly going well.

BTG’s varicose vein treatment Varisolve is expected to be launched in the US in the first half of 2014, and European authorisation for multiple sclerosis treatment Lemtrada is in the bag.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco.