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3 Shares Set to Beat the FTSE Today

Alan Oscroft
August 7, 2012

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) achieved a three-month high yesterday as banks and miners continued with their still-shaky recovery. 

However, the index was pushed back below 5,800 this morning by a plunging Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN.L  ) . The bank was accused by U.S. regulators of hiding extensive business with Iran, in violation of sanctions against the country. The index of top shares fell below 5,790 points before recovering to an almost unchanged level of 5,808 by midday.

But all of that didn't bother most companies, and many constituents of the various FTSE indexes were happily progressing today. Here are three names that rose this morning and look set to beat the FTSE by the close of play.

Xstrata (LSE: XTA.L  )
Miner Xstrata gained 2% to 901 pence after releasing its interim results, which showed profits hit by the slump in commodity prices. Net profit fell by a third to $1.9 billion on revenue that fell 7% to $15.5 billion. Xstrata is planning to cut capital expenditure by $1 billion this year and is still progressing with its planned merger with Glencore.

A lot of the negative outlook for commodities may already be reflected in the prices of mining shares, and the falls look overdone to many. In fact, Xstrata shares have rebounded 13% since their late-July low, with others stocks following suit: Rio Tinto shares are up 12%, and BHP Billiton is up 11%.

Premier Foods (LSE: PFD.L  )
Premier Foods
enjoyed a small boost to 73.25 pence following the release of its interim figures. The share price advance was only 1%, but after an awful run -- the shares have collapsed 98% since their 2007 peak -- anything suggesting a bottom has to be good.

The firm, which has dumped its pickles division to