3 Shares the FTSE Should Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) is continuing its retreat from its recent high point, dropping 37 points to 5,851 by late morning. But it still seems like it's mostly just uncertainty regarding commodity demand from the great Chinese unknown -- though why daily anxieties should have much bearing on such a long-term industry is puzzling to long-term Fools.

Some individual companies in the various indexes are falling today. Here are three shares the FTSE should beat today.

Ocado (LSE: OCDO.L  )
Online grocer Ocado fell 4.4% to 64 pence on the occasion of its latest interim management statement, despite telling us that the three months to Aug. 5 brought it a 10% rise in sales over the same period last year to 163 million pounds. Year-to-date sales for the first three quarters are up 11%. We weren't given much detail about profits, but the firm told us that margins had been "preserved."

The main reason for the fall seems to be part of the ongoing reaction to the company's initially hyped flotation, which clearly overvalued the shares at the time; they're still trading at only around a third of the initial price. The big question now is whether Ocado's second warehouse, due to open next year, will bring in enough profit to justify the current market capitalization of about 350 million pounds. Full-year results are expected to achieve breakeven.

Thorpe (LSE: TFW.L  )
FW Thorpe lost 6.2% to 990 pence on the day the lighting systems manufacturer reported a 5% rise in full-year sales to 55.6 million pounds, throwing the year's impressive share price growth into sharp decline. Operating profit was up 5%, and pre-tax profit gained 9% to 12.7 million pounds, with earnings per share coming in 18% ahead at 84.8 pence. The firm lifted its dividend by 10% to 19.4 pence.

Why the fall? It seems people expected higher profit growth, with chairman Andrew Thorpe telling us: "Times are strange, however, and some of our subsidiaries as well as our largest firm, Thorlux, experienced a noticeable downturn in orders during May and June 2012." The reason is unclear, and the first two months of the year have apparently returned to normal.

Lonmim (LSE: LMI.L  )
Lonmin shares are down 4.1% to 625 pence, despite the firm's striking Marikana mine workers being back at work after a wage deal was agreed, bringing to an end six weeks of protests that left 46 people dead. The new pay package will offer rises of between 11% and 22%, depending on job.

Lonmin shares have recovered a little of late, but they're still about 45% down over the past 12 months. And there are fresh fears for the mining industry in South Africa in general, as it is already being reported that workers in other mines are considering similar actions in search of similar pay rises.

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Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in FW Thorpe. 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.


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