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Why Barclays PLC, Johnson Matthey PLC And Staffline Group Plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) was briefly in positive territory this morning, but it soon turned South and stands 37 points down at 6,431 by mid-afternoon. That hasn’t quite wiped out Monday’s 93-point gain, mind, and the index of top UK companies is still 18 points up on the week so far. There’s plenty of time yet for short-term sentiment to decide if the FTSE will continue or will end its four-week losing run.

But not everything is falling today. Here are three shares from the various indices that are doing relatively well:


Barclays (LSE: BARC) (NYSE: BCS.US) is one of the few risers in the FTSE 100 today, with a modest 1p (0.4%) rise to 286p, on the day the bank gave us further details on the upcoming rights issue first announced on 30 July. The record time for ordinary shareholders to take part will be close of business on 13 September, which means anyone taking scrip dividends will find themselves eligible, too.

The underwritten issue should raise around £5.8bn for the bank, as part of its leverage plan to meet its obligations under the latest Prudential Regulation Authority rules.

The share price? Well, it’s dipped since late July, but at 186p it’s still up around 55% over the past 12 months.

Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) shares are still on the way up, after having reached a new 52-week high yesterday. Today the price has put on a further 37p (1.3%) to 2,954p, taking it up 5.3% in the past week.

Investors appear to be spurred by a strong first-quarter update in July, which told us of a 13% rise in sales, excluding precious metals, and by strengthening brokers’ recommendations in August.

There are two more years of earnings growth currently forecast, with the shares on a forward P/E of around 18 for the current year, dropping to 16 for next.

Staffline Group

To the other end of the scale now, and AIM-listed recruitment firm Staffline Group (LSE: STAF), which has seen its share price soar close to 140% over the past 12 months. Even after that, the shares are on a P/E of a modest 12.5, based on forecasts.

Today the price gained 17.5p (3.4%) to reach 533p, after the firm told us of a 14% rise in first-half revenues. With gross margins rising, underlying pre-tax profit climbed 32% to £4.9m, with underlying earnings per share up 35%.

The firm reduced its net debt to £2.7m from £8.4m a year previously, and boosted its interim dividend by 22.6% to 3.8p per share.

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