3 Shares the FTSE Should Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) has remained pretty flat again today, just 10 points down by mid-morning to 5,822 points. There was optimism from the words of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, who talked of slowing inflation, but the index was dragged back by falling financial shares.

A few individual constituents of the FTSE indexes saw their shares fall today on interim results and other news. Let's look at three that the FTSE should beat today.

BATM Advanced Communications
dropped 3.3% to 14.75 pence after interim results showed a dip in revenue to $53.2 million from $55.6 million for the first half of last year. That led the firm to a loss of $20,000 for the period from a $2.5 million profit previously.

The company, whose shares have almost halved since their early 2011 peak, is in the process of restructuring its telecommunications division, and chief executive Dr. Zvi Marom told us: "Despite challenging trading conditions, our Medical division showed good growth and our Telecom division is poised to return to growth following the restructuring in the early part of the year."

Xaar (ISE: XAR.L)
dropped 2.8% to 245 pence on its half-year results release, which actually looked pretty decent, with revenue of 37.9 million pounds -- up from 31.6 million pounds -- and adjusted earnings per share up 63% to 7 pence. The interim dividend was held at 1 pence per share.

It seems the only likely reason the price fell at the industrial print head supplier is that net cash at the end of the first half fell to 15.7 million pounds from 17.4 million pounds in December and 20.6 million pounds in June last year. But chairman Phil Lawler was happy, saying the firm is "well positioned for further growth in the both the short and long term."

Microfocus (ISE: MCRO.L)
dropped 1.6% to 536 pence after the software company released a management statement telling us of plans to return cash to shareholders. The return of 83 million pounds, equivalent to 50 pence per share, will happen by a rather complicated mechanism, with investors able to choose between a share buyback or a dividend.

At the same time, full-year guidance suggesting a pretty flat year was maintained as the firm remodels its business to focus on higher profit contracts at the expense of dumping high-revenue, low-profit work. Microfocus has done well for its owners, as the shares are up more than 80% over the past 12 months.

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