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Why Invensys plc, Oxford Instruments plc And Phoenix Group Holdings Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is edging a bit closer to finishing the week in positive territory again, gaining 34 points to 6,577 by late morning, after US markets rose to record levels yesterday. Banks and supermarkets are amongst the gainers so far today, with miners and utilities once again slipping.

Some companies are having a very good day. Here are three from the various indices that are on the up:

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Invensys (LSE: ISYS) shares soared by 65.4p (15%) this morning to 505.5p after the firm confirmed is has received a takeover approach from Schneider Electric SA. Though things are at an early stage and an formal offer may not be forthcoming, the indicative offer stands at 505p per share, of which 319p would be in cash and 186p in new Schneider shares.

At that price, the Invensys board says it is likely to recommend the offer, with the two companies engaging in detailed discussion as we speak.

Invensys shares were already up more than 80% over the previous 12 months — today they’ve exceeded 115%.

Oxford Instruments

Shares in Oxford Instruments (LSE: OXIG) had slumped from a February high of 1,778p to as low as 1,204p at the start of July. But today they’ve picked up a welcome 121p (9.7%) to get back to 1,371p, after the high-tech instruments maker released a first-quarter update.

Apparently the quarter started slowly, but a strong final month helped bring things back up. Average monthly intake in the firm’s North American markets was down 20%, but Asia saw an 18% upswing, and Europe is pretty flat with a small 1% fall. The board says it expects to progress “in line with its expectations for the remainder of the financial year“.

Phoenix Group Holdings

Press speculation can account for a lot these days, and Phoenix Group Holdings (LSE: PHNX) issued a response today to confirm it is in talks with Swiss Re Ltd with a view to merging Phoenix with Swiss Re’s Admin Re unit. Any possible deal is far from certain with things at a very preliminary stage right now, but it was enough to send Phoenix shares up 37p (5.7%) to 690p — they’re now up 40% over the past 12 months.

Phoenix’s earnings per share have been very erratic in recent years and there’s currently a big fall forecast for the year to December 2013. But there is a whopping 8.3% dividend yield being predicted, though it’s unlikely to be covered by earnings.

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

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