3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) is carrying on its down-up-down dance at the moment, reversing yesterday's modest gain for a 0.6% fall by 10 a.m. EST.

But wherever the index is going, plenty of individual companies are doing just fine. Here are three names whose share prices are rising and look set to beat the FTSE today.

Torotrak (LSE: TRK.L  )
Torotrak gained 8% to reach 32 pence after first-half results showed the developer of gearless vehicle transmission systems moving into the black, from a first-half pre-tax loss of 2.1 million pounds last year to a profit of 1.4 million pounds this year. 

The progress came from a big increase in revenue from just 800,000 pounds a year ago to 4.7 million pounds this year, with new chief executive Jeremy Deering saying, "The time is now right to adjust that approach to one of more aggressive, accelerated growth."

Today's rise provides a welcome respite for shareholders, who have seen their share price sliding in recent months, and it could well signal a key point in the progress of this blue-sky share.

United Utilities (LSE: UU.L  )
United Utilities put on 2.7% to 687 pence after the release of first-half results -- a significant move for such a large and boring FTSE 100 company. But "large and boring" is often what brings home the long-term profit.

For the six months to Sept. 30, Britain's largest water utility saw revenue up by 4% to 823 million pounds, leading to a 5% rise in underlying pre-tax profit to 142 million pounds. Price rises provided the biggest boost to the bottom line after the Water Services Regulation Authority approved a 6% uplift. However, the most important result for many was the raising of the interim dividend by 7% to 11.44 pence per share.

Thomas Cook (LSE: TCG.L  )
The shares of Thomas Cook continue their escape from the brink with a 2.3% rise to 24.5 pence today, despite the troubled travel firm ending a dreadful year with an underlying pre-tax loss of 17 million pounds. Much blame was placed on the company's disastrous London 2012 Olympics marketing, with prices having had to be slashed to offload excess capacity.

Why the price rise? Well, underlying operating profit was decent at 156 million pounds, with the bottom line being hit badly by exceptional costs. And net debt has fallen from 891 million pounds last year to 788 million pounds.

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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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