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Why Johnson Matthey PLC, QinetiQ Group plc and Close Brothers Group plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) fell further in early trading over fears of weak Chinese data and bearish comments from brokers concerning early stimulus tapering by the US Federal Reserve. But by mid-morning the index had recovered to 6,682 for a single point gain on the day, as some commentators said they still see an early cut as unlikely.

But what are individual shares doing this morning? Here are three that are beating the FTSE:

Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) shares perked up 119p (3.8%) to 3,213p on the morning the speciality chemicals supplier released first-half figures.

With revenue up 31% to £6,411m, underlying pre-tax profit up 12% to £202.1m and underlying earnings per share up 18% to 84.9p, the firm lifted its interim dividend 10% to 17p per share.

Chief executive Neil Carson told us this strong performance was “driven primarily by good growth in Emission Control Technologies, where global car and truck production increased, and good demand for Process Technologies’ products“.

QinetiQ

Aerospace and defence firm QinetiQ Group (LSE: QQ) got an even bigger response to its first-half report, with its share price up 13.4p (6.8%) to 210p.

Revenue fell by 12.5% to £599.6m with underlying pre-tax profit down 39% to £52.3m, but that was largely expected with the company in the process of reorganising itself. Underlying earnings per share fell by a third to 7p, but the interim dividend was lifted from 1.1p to 1.4p per share.

Chief executive Leo Quinn told us of the firm’s “confidence that our ‘Core’ businesses and newer growth opportunities will drive an increase in sustainable earnings”.

Close Brothers

Close Brothers Group (LSE: CBG) is our third for today, with a 23p (1.8%) share price rise to 1,268p. The driver this time was a first-quarter update from the financial services firm that told us of “a positive start to the year“. The company’s banking division saw loan book growth of 3% to £4.8bn, and assets under management grew by the same percentage to £9.3bn.

The shares are up 50% over the past 12 months, yet they’re still on a forward P/E for the full year of under 13 and are forecast to provide a 3.9% dividend yield. With Close Brothers saying “we remain confident in the outlook for the current financial year“, things are looking good.

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