3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is down a mere 35 points to 5,853, as so little is happening that short-term thinkers are reduced to worrying about Chinese demand again. But quietness and lack of excitement are exactly what Foolish investors want, as we go about our long-term business of enjoying profits from quality companies.

And even if the FTSE isn't doing much, there are always some individual companies rising. Here are three whose shares are set to beat the FTSE today.

Petards (ISE: PEG.L)
Petards Group revealed today that it has "received a preliminary approach which may or may not lead to an offer being made" for the company, which specializes in security and surveillance. The shares responded by climbing 16.4% to 32 pence. The approach came from Water Hall Group, but no details of any offer price have yet been revealed. An announcement either way must now be made by Oct. 18.

Before this news, Petards' AIM-listed shares had done pretty well, and they're now up around 50% over the past 12 months.

Imperial Tobacco (ISE: IMT.L)
Shares in Imperial Tobacco rose 1% to 2,360 pence on the release of the firm's latest trading update, continuing the reversal of their recent fall. There's nothing earth-shattering to report -- just that trading for the year to Sept. 30 is in line with current expectations, with net revenue "expected to be up by around four per cent with particularly good performances in our Eastern Europe, Africa & Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions."

That suggests a 4.5% dividend yield from shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of less than 12, with current City forecasts predicting 5% for next year on a P/E falling to 11.

Ricardo (ISE: RCDO.L)
Engineer Ricardo put on 3.1% to 369 pence on the release of preliminary results. While revenue for the year to June 30 only rose by half a percent to 197.4 million pounds, pre-tax profit was up 14% to 17.6 million pounds, with basic earnings up by the same percentage to 29.3 pence per share. The dividend has been hiked by 8% to 12.4 pence per share for a 3.5% yield on yesterday's close.

The shares have had a rocky ride this year, having dropped to 305 pence in June, but forecasts for next year are strong, and with net cash of 7.9 million pounds on the books, Ricardo is looking pretty healthy to me.

If the uncertainty and volatility of small-cap shares scares you, investing in safe, dividend-paying shares the Neil Woodford way is a good alternative. The free Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" takes a look at some of his major holdings. Click here to get your free copy while it's still available.

Or if you prefer the oil and gas sector as a place for your cash, the latest Motley Fool report, "How To Unearth Great Oil & Gas Shares," is just for you. It's free for a limited time, soclick hereto get your personal copy.

Further Motley Fool investment opportunities:

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.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.