3 Shares the FTSE Should Beat Today

LONDON -- Where is the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) going today? Up a bit, down a bit, it seems. The index of top U.K. shares opened with a rise but has fallen back and is down 45 points to 5,804 as of 12:35 p.m. EDT. Economic signals, as they have been for weeks, are mixed.

But going nowhere is better than falling heavily, which is what happened to a number of companies in the indexes today.

BG (LSE: BG.L  )
BG Group shares crashed today, falling 14% to 1,144 pence after the oil and gas producer slashed its production forecast for the next two years. Whereas the firm previously expected to produce up to 700,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year, that expectation has been scaled back to around 660,000 barrels, with no further increase forecast for next year.

The cut has been blamed on a number of problems, including delays in North Sea and Brazilian projects and a reduction in planned developments of U.S. shale fields.

Barclays (LSE: BARC.L  )
Barclays dropped 4.7% to 227.6 pence after the high-street bank posted a third-quarter loss of 106 million pounds. That's the small change left over between some much bigger figures, with around 1.7 billion pounds in exceptional charges -- relating to the value of the bank's debts and cover for payment-protection insurance mis-selling -- offsetting what would otherwise have been a pre-tax profit of about 1.7 billion pounds.

Barclays also warned that it faces possible fines as a result of an investigation by U.S. regulatory authorities into the alleged manipulation of electricity prices between 2006 and 2008.

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GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK.L  ) (NYSE: GSK  )
It wasn't a big fall, but shares in GlaxoSmithKline, a constituent of the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio, fell 2.3% to 1,387 pence on the release of third-quarter figures.

The results bore mixed news for investors. The downside is that the pharmaceuticals giant has missed City forecasts for the quarter, and full-year sales are now unlikely to beat last year's. But the upside is a rise in the dividend, up 1 pence to 18 pence for the quarter, keeping the shares on track for a full-year dividend yield comfortably in excess of 5%.

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Alan Oscroft does not own any shares mentioned in this article. 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.


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