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Why Carillion plc, Essentra PLC and IP Group Plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) was up a few points during the morning, but by early afternoon it has given up its gain to stand exactly where it finished Friday, at 6,487 points. But at least that’s better than a week ago, with shares rallying a little in response to hopes for an end to the US budget deadlock.

On a day when very little is happening, we really have to look to smaller companies to see any responses to actual news. Here are three from the FTSE indices putting in a positive day:

Carillion

Shares in Carillion (LSE: CLLN) picked up 4.6p (1.5%) to 308p after the construction services firm announced a new contract with Manchester Airports Group (MAG). Carillion is to be part of consortium, along with Beijing Construction Engineering Group and Greater Manchester Pension Fund, to develop MAG’s Airport City project.

The value of the project, which will create a five million square foot Enterprise Zone around Manchester Airport, is expected to be around £800m.

Carillion shares got off to a poor start to 2013, but since June they’ve been on the way back up and are now around 5% ahead over the past 12 months.

Essentra

A third-quarter update from Essentra (LSE: ESNT), the maker of speciality plastics and packaging, sent the firm’s shares up 11p (1.5%) to 737p — taking them up 35% over 12 months after a strong start to the year.

The company told us of “continued strong momentum in Q3“, reporting a 23% rise in revenue for the quarter and 19% for the nine months, with like-for-like revenue up 9% in each case.

Chief executive Colin Day said that the firm is making progress towards its target of “at least mid single-digit like-for-like revenue growth and double-digit adjusted EPS growth at constant exchange” by 2015.

IP Group

IP Group (LSE: IPO) shares gained 4p (3%) to 139p on news that Applied Graphene Materials is to raise capital and seek a listing on AIM. The firm, spun out from Durham University and in which IP Group holds a 22% stake, has developed a process for making high specification graphene.

IP Group, which is in the business of commercialising intellectual property developed at its partner universities, is not yet into achieving steady earnings, but its shares are on a modest gain of around 12% for the past 12 months.

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