Why ITV plc, BHP Billiton plc And RPS Group Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is going nowhere this morning, just a point up on 6,484 by mid-morning. That comes after a hefty fall of 104 points yesterday, the index’s biggest single-day fall for two months. Perhaps ironically, the current bearish mood is largely due to good news, as strengthening UK and US economic indicators bring fears of an earlier-than-expected rise in interest rates.

In such skittish times, there’s not a lot of movement anywhere. But here are three shares from the various indices that stand a chance of beating the FTSE today:


ITV (LSE: ITV) has pleased shareholders with a rise of more than 80% over the past year, and today we saw a 1.4p (1%) gain to 158p as the TV producer and broadcaster is continuing with its debt repayments. After telling us it had repurchased £8.6m in convertible bonds on Wednesday, ITV today announced a further repurchase of £7.9m. To date, the firm has repurchased 37% of the initial bond amount, with a value of £84.7m outstanding.

ITV has actually had a great few years and has been lifting its earnings steadily, and it resumed dividend payments in 2011. For this year we have a 13% rise in earnings per share forecast, and the dividend yield is back up to 2%.

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) (NYSE: BBL.US) is currently subject to regulatory investigations concerning possible violations of applicable anti-corruption laws. And today, the miner updated us on the steps it is taking regarding the investigations, which appear to involve interactions with foreign government officials. The firm has handed what evidence it has discovered over to the U.S. Department of Justice, and we now hear that the Australian Federal Police have also started an investigation. We don’t know the details yet, but it has apparently got something to do with China.

Investors seem unfazed, however, and the shares rose 10.5p to 1,986p in morning trading, taking the price up nearly 20% since early July.

RPS Group

Shares in development consultancy RPS Group (LSE: RPS) picked up 2.7p (1.1%) to 256p this morning, after the company announced the acquisition of Canadian firm HMA Land Services. HMA is a consultancy “specialising in providing services for linear infrastructure projects“, apparently. Depending on certain operational conditions, the deal will cost up to £11.8m in cash, of which £4m is earmarked for repayment of debt.

RPS shares have had an erratic year and had been on a slide until late June, but the price has recovered since then and is close to 10% up over the past 12 months. We’re looking at a forward P/E of under 13, falling to 11.5 for 2014 forecasts, with dividends yielding around 3%.

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