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Why AstraZeneca plc, Balfour Beatty plc and Huntsworth plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

It’s going to be six weeks of losses in a row for the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE), barring any very big surprises later today. At 6,445 points the index of top UK shares is now down 107 on the week, down 375 from its recent peak of 6,820 on 30 October, and 431 points below the 13-year peak it reached in May. Further slides before the end of the year? With the mood the way it is, I wouldn’t bet against it.

But some shares are ending the year well. Here are three from the FTSE indices putting in a good day today:

AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) (NYSE: AZN.US) shares picked up 74.5p (2.2%) this morning to 3,533p, after the drugs giant release two pieces of good news.

The US Food and Drug Administration’s Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee has recommended the diabetes treatment dapagliflozin, opining that the benefits outweigh the risks and that it has an “acceptable cardiovascular risk profile” compared to alternatives.

The second bit of news concerns lesinurad, a gout treatment, with a phase III study having identified a statistically significant success rate.

Balfour Beatty

An update on a disposal gave Balfour Beatty (LSE: BBY) a 5.7p (2.2%) boost to 268p today.

The infrastructure firm said it has completed the sale of its facilities management business to GDF Suez Energy Services, and that the proceeds will be used to reduce borrowings and to fund future investments.

The deal will net £155m pending final adjustments.

Huntsworth

Shares in PR and healthcare communications firm Huntsworth (LSE: HNT) are up around 75% over the past 12 months.

And they got a 1.25p (2%) lift in early trading today to 65p, after the firm announced that is subsidiary Atomic is to be merged with Grayling to double the latter’s size in the US.

Atomic was acquired by Huntsworth in 2011, and the two firms have apparently worked closely since.

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