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Why Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, Inmarsat Plc and Petra Diamonds Limited Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) doesn’t much look like it’s in the mood for beating anything today, dropping 6o points to 6,394 by midday, following on from a week that saw it lose 59 points and reacquaint itself with August’s lows.

The ongoing US budget deadlock is causing jitters around the world, and the recent slowdown in Chinese growth isn’t helping either.

But a few individual FTSE shares have made some modest gains so far today. Here are three:

Rolls-Royce Holdings

Rolls-Royce (LSE: RR) (NASDAQOTH: RYCEY.US) shares gained 5p (4%) to 1,120p in early trading, before falling back a little to 1,118p (2.5% up) approaching noon, in response to two news announcements.

In a six-year deal worth $406m, Rolls-Royce has been awarded US government contracts to provide support for the T56 engines used in approximately 1,000 C-130, P-3 and C-2 aircraft employed by various US agencies. A separate US Navy contract to cover E-2 Hawkeye aircraft engine repairs will be worth up to $90m.

In addition, Japan Airlines has decided to order 31 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines.

Inmarsat

Shares in Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT) picked up 2.5p to 706p after the firm told us it is to buy its fourth Inmarsat-5 communications satellite. The purchase will be part of Inmarsat’s existing contract with Boeing, with delivery expected mid-2016.

The new satellite will initially be there as a spare “in the unlikely event of a launch failure of any of the first three Inmarsat-5 satellites“, helping ensure the on-time implementation of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress system. Later, and assuming the first three launches are successful, it will be used to enhance capacity and coverage.

Petra Diamonds

A production update gave Petra Diamonds (LSE: PDL) a 1.4p (1.2%) boost to 118p, as the South Africa-based company moves on from industrial action that ended on 16 September. With 816,735 carats of diamonds delivered for the three months to 30 September, Petra says it is still on track to achieve its previous guidance of 3 million carats for the year to June 2014.

Petra’s share price has been rocky over the past 12 months with an overall gain of around 7%, falling short of the FTSE’s 12%. But with earnings growth of 35% forecast, the shares are on a forward P/E of 13, which is lower than it has been in recent years.

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