Why Rio Tinto plc, Michael Page International plc And Ricardo plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

Rio Tinto plc (LON: RIO), Michael Page International plc (LON: MPI) and Ricardo plc (LON: RCDO) are moving on up.

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The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is flat so far today, just half a point up on yesterday’s close, at 6,587 points at the time of writing. Mining shares are holding up today after a positive update from Rio Tinto, and that has offset a couple of drops in the financial sector.

But which individual shares are on the up today? Here are three from the indices that are off to a good start:

Rio Tinto

It’s rare that we hear of mining shares rising these days, but a second-quarter operations review from Rio Tinto sent the Beginners’ Portfolio constituent up 66p (2.4%) to 2,873p. Output of most of the firm’s commodities was higher than the previous quarter, but the highlight was that production of Rio’s main product, iron ore, was up 8%, with shipments up 7%. During the first half of the year, the firm recorded record volumes of the stuff, with production up 6% and shipments up 4%.

Copper and aluminium volumes slipped a little compared to Q1, by 3% and 1% respectively, but were up over the half by 17% and 7%.

Michael Page

Recruitment firm Michael Page International (LSE: MPI) saw its shares boosted by a first-half update, with a gain of 7.9p (1.8%) to 438p.  We’re not exactly in a recruitment paradise at the moment, but despite tough economic conditions, gross profit for the quarter was only 2% down on the same period last year, at £135.2m — and it was, in fact, up 6.6% on the first quarter.

Michael Page shares have enjoyed something of a comeback of late, gaining around 20% over the past month, and are on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of nearly 29 based on forecasts for the year to December. The current price is clearly based on a longer-term recovery in recruitment markets.


Shares in technical consultancy Ricardo (LSE: RCDO) picked up 20p (5.3%) to 399p on the back of a trading update ahead of its full year to 30 June. After a strong final two months of the year, the company now expects “revenue levels for the full financial year to be above the prior year […] and profit performance to be above market expectations“.

Forecasts before today suggested a 13% rise in earnings per share, so it sounds like we’re going to get more than that now. That consensus put the shares on a P/E of 11, which didn’t seem too pressing, and there’s a dividend yield of 3.5% predicted. Full results are due on 9 September.

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

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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