3 Shares the FTSE 100 Should Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) is still hovering near the 6,300 mark. It rose to a high for the morning of 6,313 points, though it's down 14 points to 6,281 as of 9:15 a.m. EST. But in periods of little or no concrete economic news, we should expect sideways spells like this.

Even if there is no big news pushing the overall index, there are lots of individual companies responding to news each day. Here are three whose shares are dropping today.

ICAP (LSE: IAP  )
ICAP shares have dropped 0.8% to 354 pence after the interdealer broker told us in an interim update that "trading conditions for the quarter ended 31 December 2012 remained challenging." Revenue for the period was down 13% on the same quarter last year, but January is looking up with a 17% rise in electronic-broking volume compared to last year.

The recent strength in world stock markets has contributed to a recovery of 25% for ICAP shares since November's low of 281 pence, including a 5.6% rise yesterday alone, so today's fall really isn't much when seen in that light.

Dairy Crest (LSE: DCG  )
Shares in Dairy Crest Group have soared by nearly 30% over the past year, so today's 3.3% fall to 408 pence is comparatively small. But again, use of the dreaded "challenging" word in today's third-quarter update looks to have caused a few jitters.

Sales were up 4% by volume and 5% by value over the nine months to December, which is a slowdown from earlier double-digit growth. But it was expected, and the company assured us that trading is still in line with expectations. Those expectations suggest a year-end P/E of 14 with a dividend yield of around 5%, and a resumption of earnings growth is forecast for 2014.

Carclo (LSE: CAR  )
Speciality plastics and electronics firm Carclo reported "better second half trading" in an interim update released today, telling us that demand at its technical plastics division is returning to normal in February after a slow couple of months. Sales of new touch-sensor technology are looking promising, too, with Carclo in line for a $10 million pre-payment for an order via the firm's agreement with Atmel.

But despite that, the share price has fallen 5% to 463 pence today. It's had an erratic ride over the past year, but the price is still up more than 30%. Technology-led growth shares are hard to value; March 2013 forecasts putting Carclo shares on a P/E of more than 50.

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