3 Shares The FTSE Should Beat Today

Published in Investing on 20 September 2012

Ocado (LSE: OCDO) and Thorpe (LSE: TFW) both fall on rising profits.

The FTSE 100 (UKX) is continuing its retreat from its recent high point, dropping 37 points to 5,851 points by late morning. But it still seems like it's mostly just uncertainty regarding commodity demand from the great Chinese unknown -- though why daily anxieties should have much bearing on such a long-term industry is puzzling to long-term Fools.

Some individual companies in the various indices are falling today. Here are three shares the FTSE should beat today...

Ocado

Online grocer Ocado (LSE: OCDO) fell 3p (4.4%) to 64p on the occasion of its latest interim management statement, despite telling us that the three months to 5 August brought it a 10% rise in sales over the same period last year, to £163m. Year-to-date sales for the first three quarters are up 11%. We weren't given much detail about profits, but the firm told us that margins had been "preserved".

The main reason for the fall seems to be part of the ongoing reaction to the company's initially hyped flotation, which clearly overvalued the shares at the time, and they're still trading at only around a third of the initial price. The big question now is whether Ocado's second warehouse, due to open next year, will bring in enough profit to justify the current market capitalization of around £350m -- full-year results are expected to achieve break-even.

Thorpe

FW Thorpe (LSE: TFW) lost 65p (6.2%) to 990p, on the day the lighting systems manufacturer reported a 5% rise in full year sales to £55.6m, throwing the year's very impressive share price growth into sharp decline. Operating profit was up 5%, and pre-tax profit gained 9% to £12.7m, with earnings per share coming in 18% ahead at 84.8p. The firm lifted its dividend by 10% to 19.4p.

Why the fall? It seems people expected higher profit growth, with chairman Andrew Thorpe telling us: "Times are strange, however, and some of our subsidiaries as well as our largest firm, Thorlux, experienced a noticeable downturn in orders during May and June 2012..." The reason is unclear, and the first two months of the year have apparently returned to normal.

Lonmim

Lonmin (LSE: LMI) shares are down 26.5p (4.1%) to 625p, despite the firm's striking Marikana mine workers being back at work after a wage deal was agreed, bringing to an end six weeks of protests that left 46 people dead. The new pay package will offer rises of between 11% and 22%, depending on job.

Lonmin shares have recovered a little of late, but they're still around 45% down over the past 12 months. And there are fresh fears for the mining industry in South Africa in general, as it is already being reported that workers in other mines are considering similar actions in search of similar pay rises.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in FW Thorpe.

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