3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

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LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) crept back up today, rising 24 points to 5,856 by around midday after some good interim results helped push the index of top U.K. shares upward. At one point it briefly breached a new four-month high of 5,876 points.

But indexes are just the aggregates of their constituent companies, so let's take a look at three from the various indexes that are set to beat the FTSE today.

Standard Life (ISE: SL.L)
Standard Life
gained on good interim news, up 6.4% to 273 pence, with the key details being a rise in assets under management to 204.2 billion (from 198.4 billion pounds at the end of 2011) and a nice 6.5% lift in the interim dividend to 4.9 pence per share.


David Nish, chief executive of the insurance, pensions, and investment company, told us: "We have delivered increased profits, cash flow and dividends and we are achieving ongoing improvements in operational and financial performance."

Current forecasts suggest a 5.6% dividend this year and 6% next, and these results lend confidence to those expectations.

Centamin (ISE: CEY.L) The shiny stuff seems to be creeping back into the news, as midterm results from Centamin sent the shares up 2.3% to 70.2 pence.

The Egypt-based gold miner saw second-quarter production at its Sukari mine reach a record of 67,422 ounces, up 40% on the same period last year. Even if the gold price is a bit flat these days, at an average selling price of $1,610 per ounce, Centamin's total production cost of $729 per ounce left plenty of room for profit.

Forecasts for the full year put the shares on a low price-to-earnings ratio of just 6.1, falling even further to 4.5 for next year -- but that is entirely dependent on the market price of something that really has little functional value.

Anglo Pacific (ISE: APF.L)
Anglo Pacific,
which owns mining resources and leases them out, lost 1.9% to 245 pence upon the release of interim figures that showed an expected fall of royalty revenue to 6.9 million pounds from a restated 16.3 million pounds for the first half last year.

But everything was pretty much as expected, with chairman Peter Boycott telling us that "with the uncertain outlook for parts of the world economy, favourable conditions exist for acquiring additional royalties." As the firm has cash on its books and no debt, we should presumably be keeping our eyes peeled for acquisitions.

The interim dividend was lifted by 4.7% to 4.45 pence, with full-year forecasts predicting a 4% yield.

But if mining is too risky for you, you might prefer to stick to companies in strong sectors paying high dividends, just as ace investor Neil Woodford does. To find out where he has his money, check out the Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor." It will only be free for a limited period, so click here to get your free copy now.

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The article 3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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