3 Shares the FTSE Should Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is falling back a little today, down 38 points to 5,856 points by lunchtime, after slipping back a little from last week's six-month high. The fall in the U.K.'s index of blue chips today was largely led by financials.

Across the various indexes, companies in other sectors also opened the day lower. We take a look at three shares the FTSE should beat today...

Volex (ISE: VLX.L)
Volex shares were slammed this morning, down 31% to 176 pence, after the electrical-products maker released a surprise profit warning. Blaming "a recent unexpected change in forecast demand from the Company's largest customer in its Consumer sector and the continuing adverse macro-economic conditions," the firm downgraded its full-year expectations and now expects no operating profit growth over last year.

Assuming the same earnings per share as last year, the current price puts the shares on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of only 6.5, which looks cheap -- but that's assuming there will be no further bad news.

JD Sports (ISE: JD.L)
JD Sports Fashion fell 1.6% after interim results showed hefty losses from its acquisition of Blacks Leisure in January. Revenue for the six-month period rose 26.4% to 556 million pounds, but an anticipated 10 million pound loss related to Blacks helped knock pre-tax profits down to 2.88 million pounds from 20.1 million pounds at the same stage last year.

But like-for-like operating profit fell by a much more modest 8.2% to 14.9 million pounds, and prospects for Blacks are apparently good, with chairman Peter Cowgill telling us that "the Board believes that the Group is well positioned to deliver results that are within the range of current expectations."

Debenhams (ISE: DEB.L)
Despite confidence returning to the high street, Debenhams saw its strong preclose trading update result in a small price fall, albeit only 0.5% to 99 pence, in early trading.

Reporting good like-for-like sales growth, online sales up 40%, and further debt reduction, the update told us to expect pre-tax profit in line with expectations and ahead of last year. Despite the share price having gained more than 60% over the past 12 months, those expectations still put the shares on a forward P/E of less than 11, falling below 10 for next year, and there's a dividend of around 3% forecast.

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Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.

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