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Why John Wood Group PLC, Marston’s PLC and Greggs plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

After a depressed start to the day, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) stands just one point down at 6,395 by late morning, despite the UK’s industrial output in August recording a surprise fall — in fact, the index was briefly ahead at one stage.

But the FTSE is still 90 points down on the week so far, and could well be heading for its third losing week in a row.

It’s not all gloom today, mind, though we do need to look outside the top index for much in the way of positive news. Here are three members of the FTSE 250 pleasing the punters today:

John Wood Group

News of a deal with Siemens sent shares in John Wood Group (LSE: WG) up 12p (1.6%) to 774p. The oil & gas services engineer is to form a joint venture (JV) with Siemens to provide turbine and generator services. Wood Group will own 51% of the venture, with Siemens holding the remaining 49%. The JV is expected to be worth around $15m per year to Wood Group in synergies by year three.

Completion is expected by the first quarter of 2014, with current divisional chief executive of Wood Group GTS, Mark Dobler, taking the helm and leaving the Wood Group board.

Despite today’s gain, Wood Group shares are still down 7.5% over the past 12 months.

Marston’s

Pub manager and brewer Marston’s (LSE: MARS) gave us cause for cheer this morning, with a year-end trading statement telling us that the second half “has been encouraging, with good weather over the summer balancing poor weather during the first half-year“.

In the firm’s Destination and Premium pubs, like-for-like sales were 2.2% up on last year, with like-for-like food sales up 3.7%, although profits from the company’s Taverns community pubs is expected to fall.

Own-brewed beer volumes are up 6% on last year, while the market as a whole has recorded a 3% shrinkage.

Greggs

Investors who like a pasty should be happy today, too, as Greggs (LSE: GRG) shares picked up 8.1p (1.9%) to 435p after the high-street baker put in a strong quarter. Although like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to 28 September were down 0.5%, total sales picked up 3.6% with year-to-date sales up 3.5%.

The firm’s store refit programme is apparently on track for 215 refits by the end of the year.

Chief executive Roger Whiteside told us that “We have made good progress in developing our strategic plan and our focus on the ‘Bakery food-on-the-go’ format“. I guess that means Greggs sells takeaway food… who’d have thought?

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