Why BT Group plc, Paragon Group of Companies PLC and Dairy Crest Group plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

What a week its been for the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE)! Despite a brief halt to the slide yesterday, London’s top index is on the wane again today with an early fall of 26 points to 6,512 — over the week that’s a drop of 152 points. Fears of Chinese overheating coupled with disappointing US economic data and a further tightening of economic stimulus have spooked the markets, but mixed results from some of the UK’s top companies this week haven’t helped.

Still, at least some are doing well. Here are three from the FTSE indices offering positive news:


BT Group shares picked up 10.7p (2.9%) to 382p after the telecoms giant announced a 12% rise in adjusted third-quarter earnings per share (EPS) to 7.3p, with adjusted pre-tax profit up 8% to £722m. For the nine months, adjusted pre-tax profit rose 5% to £1.93bn and adjusted EPS gained 6% to 19.1p. BT shares are up around 50% over the past 12 months.

Chief executive Gavin Patterson called it “an encouraging set of results“, telling us that “It was another record quarter for fibre take-up and there are now more than 18 million premises with access to our fibre“.


We saw an 18p (5.2%) rise for Paragon Group of Companies (LSE: PAG) this morning, to 366p, after the mortgage lender told us its business from 1 October 2013 “remained strong […] in line with management’s expectations“. For the period ending 31 December, the firm achieved an operating profit of £26.9m before fair value items. Pre-tax profit came in at £27.1m.

The spike today took Paragon shares up 30% over a 12-month period, putting them on a forecast P/E for the full year of 12. After four years of strongly-rising earnings, growth looks set to slow over the next two years.

Dairy Crest

Dairy Crest Group (LSE: DCG) released an update for the nine months to 31 December, and saw its shares respond with a 3.6p (1%) rise to 516p. For the third-quarter, trading was “broadly in line with our expectations in an environment that remains challenging“. The firm expects a rise in full-year pre-tax profit, with £18m in profit coming from the sale of properties and offsetting difficulties in the company’s spreads market.

Dairy Crest also announced the sale of its residential Nine Elms milk depot for £17.6m, generating a profit of £15m.

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Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.