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Why Vedanta Resources plc, N Brown Group plc and Keller Group plc Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) dropped 34 points in early trading today, before recovering a little to stand 13 points down at 6,353 by mid-morning. The latest economic figures were a little disappointing, with industrial output for August unexpectedly showing its biggest fall in a year — but at least the UK trade deficit was largely unchanged. Housebuilders are up, as the second phase of the government’s Help to Buy mortgage scheme lifts hopes.

But there are always some shares falling faster than average, of course. Here are three beating the FTSE on the way down today:

Vedanta Resources

Shares in Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) responded badly to a second-quarter production update today, falling 37p (3.5%) to 1,033p, despite record oil & gas production. Average daily production during the quarter was up 3% to 213,299 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), and over the half, production came in at 212,873 boepd, again up 3%.

There was still no iron output thanks to a ban on production in Goa and Karnataka, even though the Indian Supreme Court has lifted restrictions — Vedanta expects to resume mining shortly. Zinc production was up, but copper output was down and power sales fell by 29%.

N Brown

Home shopping firm N Brown Group (LSE: BWNG) delivered first-half results, and saw its share price slip 17.5p (3.4%) to 498p, even though the figures were up. Presumably the market was disappointed with a rise in adjusted earnings per share of only 0.6%, to 12.55p, while full-year forecasts suggest 5%.

Group revenue was up 8% to £410m with pre-tax profit gaining 7.1% to £45m, and the interim dividend was lifted 4% to 5.67p per share. A similar rise in the final dividend would provide 14.2p per share overall. That’s a bit behind forecasts of 14.5p, which would yield 2.8% on today’s price.

New chief executive Angela Spindler was moved to say: “I have spent my first three months looking at the business in detail and I am extremely excited by what I have seen.

Keller

Keller Group (LSE: KLR) shares fell 13.5p (1.4%) to 928p this morning, although 8p of that can be put down to the shares going ex-dividend today. The other news from the ground engineering contractor was of an acquisition. The company is to buy the geotechnical division of Esorfranki Limited, a South African construction firm, for an initial £31m — there will be up to £9.4m more over the next three years depending on performance.

Keller’s shares have been in quite a reversal of late, reaching 1,150p in September after a very strong bull run, before losing nearly 20% to today’s price. But they’re still up around 65% over the past 12 months.

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