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Why RSA Insurance Group plc, Legal & General Group Plc and Associated British Foods plc Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

After a positive start to the week, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has been pegged back today by some disappointing top-company results, dropping 38 points by midday to 6,725. The index is nine points down on the week so far, though it did poke its head into positive territory briefly on opening this morning before the reaction to the news set in.

So which falling shares lie behind today’s FTSE drop? Here are three that are losing ground:

RSA Insurance

Higher-than-expected bad-weather claims hit RSA Insurance Group shares this morning, sending them down 8p (6.1%) to 121p on interim update day as the company told us that that 2013 weather losses should now be “materially above planning assumptions” — return on equity for the year of less than 10% is now expected.

Other news was generally good, with net written premiums up 7% to £6.7bn — Canada and Emerging Markets led the way with rises of 14% and 17% respectively, partly through acquisitions.

Overall, RSA shares have had a pretty middling year, gaining 15% while the FTSE is up around 18%.

Legal & General

We had a third-quarter update from Legal & General Group (LSE: LGEN) today, and it led to a 7.3p (3.4%) share price fall to 210p, even though the firm reported a “strong performance across all divisions” with operational cash generation up 11% to £780m.

At Legal & General Investment Management, gross inflows for the quarter were up 71% to £15.4bn with total assets under management up 2.3% since the half-way stage to £443bn.

Chief executive Nigel Wilson told us that “We are executing well and at pace; four acquisitions have been successfully completed and net cash is up 20%“.

Associated British Foods

Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) shares have had a great run this year, gaining more than 60% over the past 12 months. But they dropped back 48p (2.1%) today to 2,207p, despite nice-looking full-year results.

It’s Primark once again that has led the way for the company, increasing profits by 44% while adding a further 800,000 sq ft, (10%) to its sales area. That helped push group revenue up 9% to £13.3bn and adjusted pre-tax profit up 13% to £1,096m. Adjusted earnings per share rose by the same 13%, to 98.9p, and the firm lifted its total dividend by 12% to 32p per share.

Today’s price fall was maybe just a bit of profit-taking, but Associated British Foods shares were perhaps looking a bit toppy on a P/E of 22 — and the dividend only yields 1.4%.

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