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Why Barclays PLC, Petrofac Limited and African Barrick Gold PLC Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

It’s three days of gains in a row this week for the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE), as it picked up a further 33 points by late morning today to break the 6,800 level and reach 6,808, after a handful of positive earnings updates gave the index a leg up.

The FTSE is now just 68 points short of May’s 13-year record of 6,876, which it could beat by the end of the week at this rate.

Which individual companies are pushing up today? Here are three with good tidings:

Barclays

A Q3 update gave Barclays (LSE: BARC) shares a 9.7p (3.7%) boost to 276p this morning, despite adjusted pre-tax profit for the quarter having fallen 26% to £1,385m, and for the nine months by 20% to £4,976m.

But it was not unexpected, with the firm’s ‘Transform’ programme taking a chunk out of profits and with investment banking profits falling by more than half. But retail performance is looking good, and chief executive Antony Jenkins told us that “the plan to meet the PRA leverage expectation of 3% by June 2014 is on track“.

Barclays shares have fallen back a bit recently, but they’re still up around 20% over 12 months, narrowly ahead of the FTSE.

Petrofac

Petrofac (LSE: PFC) shares had a poor first half of 2013, but since the summer the price has been picking itself up from its slump. And with a 38p (2.6%) gain this morning to 1,506p, it’s almost back to its level of a year ago.

The driver for the oil & gas engineering services firm today was the news of a new $650m project in Algeria in partnership with Italian contractor Bonatti. The project, which is planned to take 32 months, will see the two companies work to extend the life of the country’s Altar gas field.

African Barrick Gold

Gold miners have been going through a rough patch, with shares in African Barrick Gold (LSE: ABG) losing 60% of their value over the past 12 months. But today saw a bit of respite, with the price picking up 11.9p (7%) to 182p on the back of third-quarter results.

The firm knocked out 164,719 ounces of gold in the quarter, which was 11% more than the same quarter a year ago, with a 28% lower cash cost of $730 per ounce sold and a 25% lower “all-in sustaining cost” of $1,275 per ounce.

The quarter-end cash balance stood at $289 million, and African Barrick says it is on target for cost reductions of more then $100m by the end of 2013.

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