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Why IMI plc, WH Smith Plc and IP Group Plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has bounced back a little today, gaining 53 points to reach 6,444 by late morning, after last night’s Federal Reserve update gave no firm clues as to the timing of the expected cutback in monetary stimulus policies. Will the UK’s top index manage to avoid a third successive week of falls? Well, it’s still down 56 points on the week so far, so there’s more ground to cover yet.

Which individual shares are boosting the various FTSE indices today? Here are three:

IMI

Shares in IMI put on 77p (5.5%) to 1,486p this morning, for a 65% gain over the past 12 months, after the engineering firm released first-half results. Revenue was flat and adjusted pre-tax profit rose by a modest 1% to £170m, with adjusted earnings per share (EPS) up 4% to 39.6p. The interim dividend was lifted 8% to 12.8p per share.

But it’s all going to be about the second half this year. Looking forward, chairman Roberto Quarta said: “We continue to anticipate better trading conditions in the remainder of the year.  In addition we expect the Group to benefit from an improving sales mix and an increasing contribution from the recently launched new products.

WH Smith

A pre-close update ahead of full-year results sent WH Smith (LSE: SMWH) shares up 26p (3%) to 839p, giving shareholders a 12-month gain of nearly 45%. The firm told us that both High Street and Travel divisions have done well, with Travel winning new domestic and international business. The High Street business has been concentrating on controlling costs and boosting margins, and that sounds like it’s paying off too.

The full year is forecast to bring in a 10% rise in EPS and provide a 3.7% dividend yield, with the shares on an undemanding forward P/E of just over 11. The results will be with us on 31 August.

IP Group

Intellectual property specialist IP Group (LSE: IPO) released first-half figures, and they were enough to give the shares a 3.3p (2.5%) boost to 137p. The firm recorded a statutory pre-tax loss of £2m against a profit of £28.7m for the corresponding period a year previously. But at the moment, it’s all about building an intellectual property portfolio, and the value of that is up 5.5% from the end of the last full year to £192m.

Chief executive Alan Aubrey told us that “The Group continues to see an excellent pipeline of opportunities which, coupled with the overall maturing of our portfolio across investment stages, gives us increasing confidence in our ongoing ability to deliver significant shareholder value“.

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