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Why WPP PLC, Henry Boot plc and Berendsen PLC Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is picking up, gaining 33 points to 6,480 by mid-afternoon. But it still has a little way to go if it is to avoid a third losing week in a row — a further 20 point gain, in fact, is needed to beat last Friday’s close of 6,500.

But what’s beating the FTSE today? Here are three shares from the various indices that look set to do just that:

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News of an acquisition sent shares in WPP (LSE: WPP) (NASDAQOTH: WPPGY.US) up 29p (2.4%) to 1,220p today. One of the advertising and media giant’s subsidiaries, Kantar, has bought up US-based research and consulting firm Benenson Strategy Group (BSG) for an undisclosed sum. BSG was the firm behind President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and has a number of other high-profile clients.

WPP shares are now up around 40% over the past 12 months, with the latest forecasts for a 5% rise in earnings per share (EPS) putting them on a P/E of 14.6. The firm is due to release first-half results next Thursday, 29 August.

Henry Boot

Henry Boot (LSE: BHY) released first-half figures today, and the construction firm’s share price climbed 8.2p (4.4%) to 195p as a result — it’s now up 55% over the past 12 months. Pre-tax profit is up 35% to £7.4m with earnings per share up 64% to 3.6p, and that was enough for the board to lift the interim dividend by 8% to 1.95p per share. Net asset value is up to 144p, from 139p, but net debt is also up, from £21.9m to £38.8m.

Forecasts for the firm (which, incidentally, became the UK’s first quoted housebuilder when it floated in 1919), suggest a 10% rise in full-year EPS, but that does rate the shares on a P/E multiple of 23.


Textile services firm Berendsen (LSE: BRSN) has seen its share price soar by 65% over the past 12 months, to 876p. That includes a 5.5p (0.6%) rise on the release of first-half results, and it might just be enough for it to beat the FTSE today.

With revenue for the period up 7%, adjusted pre-tax profit gained 21% to £60.2m and adjusted EPS was up by the same mark to 26.2p. The interim dividend was boosted by 10% to 8.8p per share. Chairman Iain Ferguson told us that “the Board continues to expect to achieve a year of good progress in line with its previous expectations“.

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

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