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Why Punch Taverns plc (LON: PUB), Greene King plc (LON: GNK) and Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) was briefly in positive territory this morning, before turning tail and shedding 23 points to 6,484 by mid-morning.

The big news from Vodafone didn’t provide the boost some might have expected, as shares in the telecom giant fell back a little this morning. And there was very little action elsewhere in the top London index — even the miners are showing a muted reaction to reports of rising Chinese demand.

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But which shares are doing well today? Here are three names that are responding to good news and look set to beat the market today:

Punch Taverns

A full-year trading update gave Punch Taverns (LSE: PUB) shares a boost this morning, taking them up 6% to 13p.

The pub operator told us that average net income per pub was up 1.5% over the year, and though like-for-like net income was down over the year, it had pushed upwards in the final quarter. The firm had let 96% of its core pubs by the end of the year, slightly up on 94% a year previously, and has disposed of 433 pubs over the year for a total of £149m which was better than book value.

Executive chairman Stephen Billingham said: “We reiterate our previous expectations of net income growth in the core estate for the years ahead”, though analysts are still forecasting a further fall in annual profits next year.

Greene King

Boozers are in the news today, as shares in Greene King (LSE: GNK) gained 12.5p (1.5%) in early trading to 860p, and though the gain had dropped to just 1p by the time of writing, it’s still in with a shout of beating the FTSE today.

This time the driver was an interim update, telling us of a 4.6% like-for-like sales gain in the firm’s Retail division, with like-for-like Food sales up 5.7% and Accommodation up 6%.

The company told us: “There appear to be cautious signs of optimism in terms of recent UK macro-economic improvements. In turn, we are seeing indications of growing consumer confidence, which is reflected in our strong start to the financial year“, and said it expects to deliver “sustained earnings growth and attractive dividends“.

Dechra Pharmaceuticals

Full-year results gave Dechra Pharmaceuticals (LSE: DPH) a modest boost, taking the shares up 6p (1%) to 696p by mid-morning — they’re now up 40% over the past 12 months, though they were higher earlier in the year.

Following a year of restructuring, chief executive Ian Page said: “Dechra is now entirely focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing high margin, cash generative specialist veterinary pharmaceuticals and related products for global markets“.

So how did the numbers come out?

After a number of disposals, revenue from continuing operations rose by 52% to £189m, though revenue from discontinued operations amounted to £332m — total revenue rose by 19%. Underlying pre-tax profit from continuing operations gained 54% to £33.5m, with overall profit up 15%. Underlying earnings per share rose by 20% to 38.7p, and the dividend was lifted 14% to 14p per share.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Vodafone.

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