3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE 100 Today

LONDON -- News that the German and French economies shrank in the final three months of 2012 by 0.6% and 0.3%, respectively, coupled with falls in a handful of top FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) companies, put pressure on the top-tier index this morning. It has dropped 0.56% to 6,324 as of 7:50 a.m. EST.

But there are still companies whose prices are rising. Here are three that are on the up today.

Aberdeen Asset Management (LSE: ADN  )
Shares in Aberdeen Asset Management have picked up 2.7% to 429 pence on news of the acquisition of Artio Global Investors. The all-cash deal will cost about $175 million, pricing Artio at a premium of $34 million over its December net asset valuation.

Today's rise also takes Aberdeen shares to a new 52-week high, up a touch more than 60% in the past 12 months. January's interim update told us the firm had assets under management of 193.4 billion pounds as of Dec. 31, up 3.3% from September's 187.2 billion pounds.

Unilever (LSE: ULVR  ) (NYSE: UL  )
The Unilever share price continues to climb, up 1.6% to 2,585 pence today. The price is up nearly 25% over the past 12 months, boosted by a 10.5% rise in turnover for the 2012 full year and a 9% rise in operating profit. The shares did fall back a little from their Feb. 1 peak of 2,603 pence, but in the last week they've been on the up again.

Forecasts for 2013 suggest a 4% rise in earnings per share and a dividend yield of 3.4%. But after the recent price-appreciation, that puts the shares on a forward P/E of 18 for December 2013, which looks a bit high to me.

Halma (LSE: HLMA  )
Halma shares are up 1.2% to 483 pence after the health and safety equipment specialist told us adjusted profit for the full year should be in line with market expectations. The firm has seen continued good growth in the U.S. and Asia, but conditions in the U.K. and Europe remain tougher.

Those full-year expectations suggest a 7% rise in earnings per share, with City analysts forecasting pretty much the same again for the following two years. Dividend yields of 2% to 2.5% are predicted.

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