Why Vodafone, Balfour Beatty, and Severn Trent Should Beat the FTSE 100 Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) has continued its recent nosedive today, plunging a further 127 points to 6,033 by 8:30 a.m. EDT. Worries about the Chinese economy have been blamed for the slump, with fears of a liquidity squeeze coming to the fore. And last week's news that the U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to scale back its economic-stimulus measures is still weighing heavily.

Unsurprisingly, there are few individual shares doing well today, but it doesn't take much to beat a falling FTSE. Here are three that look likely to achieve that today.

Vodafone
Vodafone Group shares are flat this morning, avoiding the precipitous drop of the broader market. The reason? The telecom giant has confirmed that it has all but sealed its planned acquisition of Kabel Deutschland Holding through a voluntary public tender offer.

Vodafone is offering €84.50 per share, plus the €2.50 dividend already announced by the firm, making a total of €87 -- and valuing Kabel Deutschland at €7.7 billion (approximately £6.6 billion). The management and supervisory boards of Kabel Deutschland intend to recommend the offer to shareholders.

Balfour Beatty (LSE: BBY  )
Infrastructure developer Balfour Beatty, whose share price has taken a bit of a beating lately, has regained 0.4% this morning to reach 222 pence on the announcement of a new contract worth £720 million.

Gammon Construction of Hong Kong, which is 50% owned by Balfour Beatty, has landed the job of designing and building a "major strategic road" in Hong Kong -- namely, the Southern Connection Viaduct section of the Tuen Mun to Chek Lap Kok Link.

Balfour Beatty's shares are now on a forward P/E of less than 10 with a dividend yield of nearly 6% forecast, and that's starting to look a little oversold to me.

Severn Trent (LSE: SVT  )
The punters seem to be retreating to safety today, with a number of utility companies seeing their shares rising. At the time of writing, water company Severn Trent is leading the FTSE, up 1.9%. Severn Trent was recently the target of an aborted takeover bid, which pushed its shares to a 30% rise over the year, but they're now back down to a flat performance overall.

The FTSE 100's other water firm, United Utilities, is also up, gaining 0.8%, while electricity and gas producer SSE is down a relatively modest 0.5%.

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