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Why Petrofac Limited, Thomas Cook Group plc and Cranswick plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) lost 19 points last week to record three losing weeks in a row. But by mid-afternoon today it has regained that plus one more point to stand at 6,695. The nuclear agreement with Iran has provided a bit of optimism, with airline shares having risen — not in anticipation of a rush to the golden beaches of Hormuz, but because oil prices fell.

In a day of relatively thin company news, what has been pushing shares upwards? Here are three that have benefited:

Petrofac

Petrofac (LSE: PFC) shareholders deserve a break after project delays led to a price plunge last week, and they got a modest bit of good news today.

The oil & gas engineering firm has landed a refinery improvement project in Oman worth $2.1bn, in a 50/50 joint venture with Korean firm Daelim Industrial. The contract covers engineering, procurement, construction, start-up and commissioning, and is expected to last 36 months.

The work, which includes both renovation and expansion, should boost productivity at the refinery by at least 70%. The shares responded with a 16.9p (1.4%) rise to 1,208p.

Thomas Cook

Once-beleaguered travel agent Thomas Cook Group (LSE: TCG) has been bounding back, and its shares have more than seven-bagged since being branded practically worthless a year ago.

Today the price got a 4.9p (3.3%) boost to 153p, after the firm announced it has agreed to sell Neilson Active Holidays to a private investment firm for £9.15m. The deal, which chief executive Harriet Green described as part of the “continuing rationalisation of our business” should be completed in early December.

Cranswick

Shares in Cranswick (LSE: CWK) gained 55p (5%) to 1,155p today, taking them up more than 40% over the past 12 months, after the food products firm reported a 16% rise in first-half pre-tax profit to £26.1m.

That came from a 15% rise in revenue to £483.5m, and resulted in a bump of 22% in earnings per share to 43.5p. The firm lifted its interim dividend by 6% to 10p per share, with chairman Martin Davey telling us that full-year performance should be in line with expectations.

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