3 Shares the FTSE 100 Should Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) is down 78 points to 6,277 as I write as fears from Italy's election stalemate reverberate around Europe. Could the strong anti-austerity vote presage a new wave of revolts against the eurozone's Northern masters, and could the FTSE be sent spiraling back down to last year's levels? It's not an impossible scenario.

Even a falling FTSE can be hard to keep up with sometimes, and here are three companies that are failing to do that today.

Whitbread (LSE: WTB  )
A 16.9% rise in sales for the final quarter and a 14.8% rise for the full year were not enough to satisfy Whitbread shareholders, who have pushed the shares down 4% to 2,459 pence. The price has been up more than 50% over the past 12 months but has slid back to a gain of about 42%, which is still impressive.

A cold January adversely affected business, but Costa Coffee sales were up a solid 32.2% for the quarter and 26.9% over the year. Premier Inn did well, too, recording a quarterly rise of 14.1% and a full-year rise of 12.9%. Whitbread's full results are due on April 30.

Provident Financial (LSE: PFG  )
Provident Financial shares have dropped 4% to 1,462 pence despite full-year results showing an 11.7% pre-tax profit rise to 181.1 million pounds, with a 13.8% rise in adjusted earnings per share. Customer numbers at the consumer credit firm rose by 8.7%.

The total dividend was lifted by 11.9% to 77.2 pence per share for a yield of 5.3% on the current share price, with forecasts for 2013 suggesting a rise to 5.5% and putting the shares on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of just under 14.

Redrow (LSE: RDW  )
Interim figures from Redrow resulted in a 4.2% fall in the homebuilder's share price to 188 pence. A 10% rise took revenue to 157 million pounds. The company achieved a 3% growth in number of homes completed, but that's a little behind some of its competitors: Persimmon reported a full-year 6% rise yesterday. But Redrow's average selling price was up by 9.8% to 224,000 pounds, putting it ahead of its rivals.

Earnings per share rose by 30% to 4.8 pence, and Redrow got its net debt down from 98.8 million pounds a year prior to 65.2 million pounds.

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