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Why Bunzl plc, FirstGroup plc And Craneware plc Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) is picking up a bit after its recent slump, regaining a further 59 points to 6,161 by just after midday. Fears that the US economy will suffer when the Federal Reserve starts to wind down its economic stimulus activities appear to be subsiding today, with a bit of rational thought returning after the recent panic.

But it’s not all roses for everyone. Here are three from the various indices that are falling behind today:

Bunzl

Shares in outsourcing firm Bunzl (LSE: BNZL) lost 13p (1%) to 1,243p this morning — but they’re still up more than 20% over the past 12 months after a cracking start to 2013. Today’s drop came on the day of a pre-close update, ahead of first-half results.

 Progress is said to be pretty much in line with previous expectations, with revenue growth of around 11% at constant exchange rates, and operating margins unchanged. Overall finance costs for the period should be a little higher. The results should be with us in August.

FirstGroup

FirstGroup (LSE: FGP) shares dipped 2.9p (3%) to 93p today, after the transport firm updated us with the results of its recent share placing. When the three-for-two issue at 85p per share closed yesterday, the company had received valid acceptances for approximately 87.6% of the total offered, or 633 million new shares.

FirstGroup’s shares plummeted on 20 May, the day the placing was announced along with annual results. The price fell 30% to 156p, and has slid further since then to current levels.

Craneware

One of the biggest falls of the day hit the shares of Craneware (LSE: CRW), the AIM-listed software specialist, as the price tumbled 41p (11%) to 335p by midday. The firm, which deals with the US healthcare market, told us it has failed to sign one of a number hoped-for large sales opportunity due to “corporate activity”, and “expects that the likelihood of one of these deals closing before the end of the financial year is now low”.

That financial year ends on 30 June, so there wasn’t much time left. Analysts are expecting a flat year, with a rise in earnings per share of around 25% to follow for 2014 — whether today’s news has an impact on that remains to be seen.

Finally, reliable dividends can more than compensate for the day-to-day ups and downs of share prices. So how about a company that’s offering a 5% yield and which could be set for some nice share price appreciation too?

It’s the subject of our BRAND-NEW report, “The Motley Fool’s Top Income Share For 2013“, which you can get completely free of charge — but it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.

> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.