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Why Associated British Foods plc, Balfour Beatty plc And Group Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

After a pessimistic start to the day yesterday, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) perked up a little later on to finish just eight points down on the day, and at the time of writing today it’s back up 62 points to 6,567. If the index carries on as it’s going, we should hopefully see three weeks of rises in a row.

But which shares are doing even better? Here are three from the various indices that are on the way up today:

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Associated British Foods

A 20% rise in sales at Primark boosted third-quarter performance at Associated British Foods, sending its shares up 114p (6.3%) to 1,929p this morning. Although sugar revenues were down 15% for the quarter, the firm’s other businesses all saw revenue rising, adding up to an 8% rise in total group revenue. For the year to date, overall revenue gained 9%, with Primark up 22% and sugar up 1%.

We were told that the group should “make good progress in adjusted earnings per share for the full year in line with expectation“.

Balfour Beatty

An update ahead of first-half figures gave Balfour Beatty (LSE: BBY) a boost, sending the shares up 8.2p (3.7%) to 228p — and that provides a little relief from a sliding share price. In essence, things are pretty much unchanged from May’s first-quarter update, though business is getting a bit tougher for the company’s professional services division in Australia.

The overall order book levels remains unchanged, and £45m has been realised from the ongoing PFI asset disposal, which is £5m ahead of plan. Net debt stands at around £300m, again as expected. First-half results are due on 14 August.

Shares in (LSE: MONY) picked up 2.5p (1.2%) to 206p in early trading after the operator of the UK’s leading price-comparison website brought us a first-half trading update. Revenue for the six months is expected to be around £112m, with adjusted EBITDA coming in around £40m — those are respectively 10% and 29% ahead of last year’s first half. In addition to regular dividends, will pay £70m in special dividends on 26 July.

For the full year, analysts are forecasting a rise in earnings per share of 20%, putting the shares on a forward P/E of just under 19. That doesn’t seem unduly demanding for a growing company, especially as there’s likely to be a dividend yield of about 3.6%. Results are due on 31 July.

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

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