3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE 100 Today


LONDON -- The FTSE 100 has topped its recent high mark, up 0.36% to 6,069 points as of 8:45 a.m. EST. It has been held back from further optimism, apparently, by suggestions from the Federal Reserve that the Fed's "quantitative easing" stimulus program might be at an end.

There have been some modest gains among individual companies today. Let's look at three whose prices are rising.

Balfour Beatty
Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty got a boost today after telling us of a new contract win for five years of highway maintenance for Wiltshire Council. News of the deal, worth 150 million pounds, only added 1% to the share price to bring it to 285 pence. But any positive news is good for Balfour Beatty, whose share price plummeted in early November after the company warned that it was facing economic difficulties in its markets.

The price has already regained more than half its loss, and even with forecasts downgraded after the warning, the shares are on a modest price-to-earnings ratio of eight, with a 5% dividend yield expected.

Shares in engineer Costain Group are up picked up 0.2% after the firm released a trading update. The previous update in November was positive, and since then the company tells us things are still going in line with expectations. At the end of the year, the value of Costain's order book stood at 2.4 billion pounds (up from 2.5 billion pounds at the same stage last year), with 90% of that being repeat business. More than 700 million pounds in orders have been taken for 2013 already.

Full-year results are due to be released on March 6, with analysts expecting a 4.4% dividend yield from shares on a P/E of 8.

Marshalls saw its shares tick up 1.2% on the release of a trading update. The company, which makes various landscape, driveway, and garden products, recorded revenue of 309 million pounds for the year to Dec. 31. That's down 7% from last year but equal to 2010 revenue. The company blames "prolonged periods of heavy rainfall during the normally busy summer months."

Marshalls' cost-reduction reorganization was also completed ahead of schedule and is already delivering savings. Year-end net debt is down to 64 million pounds from 77 million pounds a year ago.

Daily gains from shares can all play their part in making you your first million. But the real secret to becoming rich from shares is simple long-term investing in fundamentally sound companies, and letting steady growth and dividends power your wealth upwards. If you don't think a million is feasible, read this free Motley Fool report and see if you change your mind. The report won't cost you a penny, so click here to have a copy delivered to your inbox while it's still available.

The article 3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE 100 Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.