Why Sports Direct Intl. Plc, Aviva plc and Rolls-Royce Holding PLC Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) drifted downwards during trading earlier today, falling 13 points to 6,677, amid concerns about a slowdown in China and the ongoing struggles in Ukraine.

The Bank of England governor Mark Carney is presently answering questions from MPs over claims that officials at the bank knew of alleged foreign exchange rate fixing. Nothing revealing is likely to be admitted, but among the key points so far is that it is a “distinct possibility” that RBS will have to move if Scotland becomes independent.

These are some shares that are bucking the market today:

Sports Direct 

Sports DirectSports Direct (LSE: SPD) is the leading riser, adding 27p to 386p, or an increase of 3%. Today the firm proposed a £65m share bonus for founder Mike Ashley, that will pay out in July 2018 if a number of financial targets are met.

The targets include achieving earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £330m in 2014 and £410m in 2015. Core earnings of £410m in 2015 would represent an upgrade on analyst forecasts.

Any bonus is subject to shareholder approval, while the retailer’s largest institutional investor, Odey Asset Management, has confirmed it intends to vote in favour.

Shares in Sports Direct are up 94% on a year ago.


AvivaShares in Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) continue to perform well after last week’s strong results underlined the extent of the firm’s turnaround. Aviva is the the third placed riser — up a little shy of 3% — after a number of brokers, including at Nomura, upgraded their ratings for the company.

The main highlight of Aviva’s results was the reduction of a pesky internal loan by more than £2bn. This has been a huge lift for the company, with more cash free for growth, and additionally the insurer is in a better capital position.

The shares have come a long way in the last 12 months, when this time last year the company was forced to cut its final dividend by 44%. Since then the share price has improved 46%. 


Rolls-RoyceInvestors continued to crowd into Rolls-Royce (LSE: RR), albeit in dribs compared with yesterday, after the engineering firm took control of a power systems partnership.

The shares added 10p to 1,053 this morning, and while the increase wasn’t enough to power it to poll position among the risers, it will have to settle for fifth place.

The aero engine maker is buying out Daimler’s 50% stake in the joint venture for an estimated £1.9bn, and the transaction is should be completed within the next six months, subject to regulatory approval.

Investors were taken aback last month when Rolls announced that a decade of profit growth will end this year, but have been cheered by this latest, much more welcome piece of news.

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> Mark does not own shares in any company mentioned.