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3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

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LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) is sliding still further today, dropping another 40 points to 5,637. We have already heard that the eurozone is officially back in recession, and economic sentiment seems nothing but gloomy right now. Still, over the long term, these day-to-day wiggles in the chart won't really count for anything.

In fact, there are always individual companies doing well, and that's what long-term investors should be looking for. Here are three names within the various FTSE indexes that are on the way up today and look set to beat the FTSE.

Serco (LSE: SRP.L  )
Outsourcing firm Serco put on 3% to 561 pence after the FTSE 100 constituent reported an improved performance in the second half of the year. The company has bagged new contracts worth 5.6 billion pounds in the year to date, with 1.4 billion pounds of those coming since June.

Although business in the U.S. is proving tough, full-year forecasts should be met, which suggests a modest rise in earnings during a difficult economic year. The City expects improved profit growth for 2013, too.

Chesnara (LSE: CSN.L  )
Chesnara perked up 3% to 187 pence this morning after a third-quarter update reported "steady progress in continuing unsteady markets." By Sept. 30, the life insurance firm had seen its European Embedded Value, an industry measure of balance-sheet assets, increase from 294 million pounds to 306 million pounds. In addition, the first nine months of the year brought in a pre-tax profit of 30 million pounds, compared with a loss of 50 million pounds in the same period last year.

Current forecasts suggest a dividend yield of nearly 10%, but the payout will not be covered by predicted earnings.

Bodycote (LSE: BOY.L  )
Shares in Bodycote gained 5% to 380 pence after the firm reported 3% organic revenue growth for the four months to Oct. 31. Although the midcap said conditions in Europe were tough, the firm's sales in North America have been holding up nicely.

Overall, Bodycote said it was still on course to meet current expectations for the full year, so we should be expecting a dividend yield of around 3.3%, with the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of about 10.

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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. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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