3 Shares the FTSE Should Beat Today


LONDON -- By midday, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was still holding steady at 5,690, wobbling a few points either way of yesterday's 5,692 close. But that's 112 points up on last week, when it finished on 5,571 points, and a good week for the U.K.'s top companies.

But an index that isn't moving much can hide a multitude of risers and fallers, so here's a quick look at three shares lagging behind the FTSE indexes today.

Out of the frying pan...
Aga Rangemaster
(ISE: AGA.L) , the maker of range cookers and other upmarket kitchenware, had 4.2% lopped off the value of its shares this morning after releasing a trading update ahead of interim results due on Aug. 24.

Tough market conditions and patchy demand have led sales and operating profits for the first half to fall a little below last year, though the company still expects to achieve sales and profit growth for the full year.

Is Aga a good buy now from a value perspective? Stephen Bland casts his eye over it.

Washed out by rain
(ISE: MSLH.L) , suppliers of paving and landscaping materials, lost 7.9 pence for a 9% fall to 79 pence after releasing a disappointing trading update.

Business was good in the first quarter, but since then, trading conditions have turned bad through the end of June, with domestic sales down 14%. The near-incessant rain has been at least partly to blame, knocking an estimated 10 million pounds off sales in the second quarter.

A program of cost and inventory reduction and cash conservation is now to be implemented, bringing with it a one-off 7 million pound charge.

Construction fallout continues
After a couple of broker downgrades, Carillion (ISE: CLLN.L) shares fell by 13.6 pence in morning trading for a 5% fall to 254 pence.

This follows from Wednesday's trading update telling us that first-half revenues were lower and conditions in the market are challenging. It moved UBS and Liberium Capital to lower their price targets from 285 pence to 230 pence and from 270 pence to 235 pence, respectively.

But if current dividend forecasts hold, we'll be looking at a full-year yield of nearly 7%. It could be one for a bold contrarian play!

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