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Why HSBC Holdings plc, Balfour Beatty plc And Alent PLC Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100‘s (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) started well this morning, gaining 30 points by around 9 am, but has since reversed and stands 5 points down on 6,643 by just after midday. Though the index of top UK stocks is currently bobbing around a two-month high, it’s being held back today by a fall from HSBC, which missed analysts’ targets.

So which shares are failing to keep up? Here are three set to slip behind the FTSE today:

HSBC Holdings

Shares in HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) fell 33p (4.3%) to 722p this morning on the occasion of the banking group’s first-half results, even though reported pre-tax profit was up 10% to $14.1bn compared to the first half of 2012 — but that was a shade short of analysts’ forecasts. The rise in profit was largely due to an 8% fall in costs helped by the firm’s ongoing restructuring, as revenue fell 7% to $34.4bn.

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver said “Both reported and underlying profit before tax increased in the first half. These results demonstrate that we have continued to make progress on delivering our strategy“.

Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty (LSE: BBY) shares dipped by a penny this morning, to 251p, despite announcing a new construction deal. The infrastructure group has been appointed preferred bidder for a student accommodation development in Florida, which should be worth an estimated $500m by completion. The 10-year project should see its first phase completed in 2014.

Balfour Beatty shareholders have had a tough year, with their shares losing 10% over the past 12 months. Still, forecasts suggest they should be enjoying a dividend yield of over 5% this year and next, with the shares on a forward P/E of 11, dropping to 9 for 2014.

Alent

Alent (LSE: ALNT), the supplier of plating and electronics assembly technology, released first-half figures today, and saw its share price slip 9.6p (2.5%) to 367p as a results. The firm saw a 3.1% fall in adjusted pre-tax profit with adjusted earnings per share down 2.6%, though statutory pre-tax profit slumped by 14%. But we did see a rise in the interim dividend, by 5% to 2.89p per share.

Chief executive Steve Corbett told us that markets were “more challenging than were expected” and that “the second quarter was better than the first, but underlying growth across the total electronics supply chain was more subdued“.

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.