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Why WPP PLC, AstraZeneca plc and Meggitt plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

So for months, every time the prospect of US stimulus-reduction is even mentioned, investors run for the hills and the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) takes a tumble. Then when it actually happens — the Federal Reserve has decided to cut bond purchases by $10bn per month to $75bn — the FTSE rises! It’s up 64 points since the decision was known, to 6,556.

It might be the simultaneous commitment to maintaining low interest rates that has led to this reaction, but it shows that trying to second-guess the market’s short-term movements is a mug’s game.

Anyway, which individual FTSE 100 shares are rising today? Here are three:

WPP

WPP (LSE: WPP) shares gained 30p (2.3%) to 1,328p on the announcement of a new acquisition by the marketing giant.

One of WPP’s subsidiaries, GroupM, is to buy up a majority stake in ClickMedia which operates in Vietnam. Described as “a full service social media marketing firm“, ClickMedia counts Unilever and Estee Lauder amongst its customers, and had revenues of 23.7 billion dong (£687,300) for the year to December 2012. 

WPP shares are now up 50% over the past 12 months.

AstraZeneca

The day got off to a good start for AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) (NYSE: AZN.US), with a 59p (1.7%) boost to 3,596p, taking the price up more than 20% since this time last year.

Again there was an acquisition behind it, with the drugs giant telling us it “will acquire the entirety of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s interests in the companies’ diabetes alliance“. AstraZeneca will pay $2.7bn up front followed by up to $1.4bn depending on agreed performance targets, and there will be various other smaller sums applicable for royalties and some assets.

Since his arrival, chief executive Pascal Soriot has been focusing on the company’s core assets and strengths, and this is clearly a positive move in that direction.

Meggitt

Aerospace and defence engineer Meggitt (LSE: MGGT) has been awarded a contract worth US$18m by the Australian Defence Force, for providing hardware and software upgrades to a number of existing projects.

The deal comes on the heels of a number of big international contracts totalling $40m, from Italy, Kuwait, Singapore and the US.

Meggitt shares picked up 7.5p (1.5%) to 511p in response to the news. 

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Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.