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Why WPP PLC, AMEC plc And Home Retail Group Plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

It’s a pretty dull time for the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) right now, as it idles its time before next week’s expected update from the US Federal Reserve. The index of top UK shares did gain 12 points in early trading to briefly break through the 6,600 level, but by late morning it’s 21 points down on the day to 6,567.

Some shares are having a good day today. Here’s a quick look at three from the indices that are doing nicely:

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WPP

News of an acquisition gave shares in WPP (LSE: WPP) a boost today, taking them up a further 12p (1%) to 1,285p this morning. Ogilvy & Mather, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the advertising and media group, is to acquire a majority stake in India’s PennyWise Solutions, an online production company. The company said “This investment marks a further step towards WPP’s declared goal of developing its networks in fast-growth and important markets and sectors“.

On the same day, WPP announced the appointment of three new non-executive directors, Dr John Hood, Daniela Riccardi, and Nicole Seligman.

AMEC

Oil services engineer AMEC (LSE: AMEC) was forced to admit it was pursuing a possible conditional cash offer for Kentz Corporation (LSE: KENZ) on 19 August, and today has announced that the possibility is no more and that it “does not intend to make an offer for Kentz“.

The immediate result was a 22p (2.1%) rise in the AMEC share price to 1,080p, though it’s still down around 5% over the past 12 months. Kentz shares had soared on the initial news, and have today fallen back by 57p (10.4%) to 492p, but that’s still nicely up on their pre-approach levels of around 450-475p.

Home Retail Group

Home Retail Group (LSE: HOME) shares soared to a new 52-week high of 178p, though they have slipped back to a 5.8p (3.5%) rise on the day to 179p. The driver today was a second-quarter statement from the owner of Homebase and Argos, telling us of like-for-like sales rises at both of those outlets.

Argos has enjoyed a 2.7% rise in the quarter with an overall 2.3% rise for the six months to 31 August, while at Homebase there’s been an 11% Q2 rise with a first-half gain of 5.9%. Consumer spending was described as subdued, but chief executive Terry Duddy said that “we approach the important Christmas trading period in good operational shape“.

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

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