LONDON -- After a mixed day yesterday, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) is slipping back today, dropping 16 points to 6,436 by mid-morning. News from the Federal Reserve yesterday that the door for further quantitative easing is still open was dampened by weaker U.S. jobs figures. Today, the European Central Bank's expected decision to cut its main refinancing rate from 0.75% to 0.5% as also failed to inspire the markets.
But despite an overall mood of uncertainty, some companies benefited from good news this morning. Here are three that look set to beat the FTSE.
First-quarter results sent BG Group shares up 2.6% to 1,118 pence this morning. Earnings per share did drop 4%, but that was expected and had already been factored into the share price -- which has fallen about 25% over the past 12 months.
But what buoyed the share price today was news that the firm's drilling tests in Tanzania are bearing fruit, that new production has come on-stream in Brazil, and that there have been further successes at BG's Elgin/Franklin and Everest East projects in the U.K.
Shares in Carillion got some welcome respite this morning after having fallen around 20% since the start of the year. The construction services firm was named the preferred bidder for the new Royal Liverpool Hospital. The value of the construction contract stands at 335 million pounds, with a further 80 million pounds expected to be generated from support services over the 30-year life of the concession.
Chief executive Richard Howson said: "This takes the total value of new orders and probable orders for Carillion in 2013 to over £2 billion and demonstrates the benefits of our strategy of focusing on national construction projects."
RSA Insurance Group shares have ticked up a little, gaining 0.9% after the insurance firm released an update for the three months to March. The quarter showed modest but positive progress, with premiums up 7% to 2.4 billion pounds and net asset value up 5% to 112 pence per share.
Looking to the full year, the firm kept its guidance unchanged and told us, "We are confident in delivering good premium growth on a constant-exchange-rate basis, a combined operating ratio of better than 95%, investment income of around £470 million and return on equity of 10-12% for the full year 2013."
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