Vodafone (LSE: VOD), Greggs (LSE: GRG) and Morgan Sindall (LSE: MGNS) can all be had for rock-bottom prices.
The FTSE 100 (UKX) is nowhere near its 52-week low of 5,230 points. In fact, at a level of 5,935, it's not far short of its 52-week high of 5,989. And, unless were are in for further eurozone economic shocks, it looks far more likely that it will breach that upper bound before too long, with little danger of slumping back to its low point.
The overall index might be doing fine, but quite a few individual companies are trading near their 52-week lows. Here are three that I'm personally disappointed by, for various reasons:
The recent share-price performance of Vodafone (LSE: VOD) (NASDAQ: VOD.US), which is a constituent of our Beginners' Portfolio, has been pretty poor. While the price has recovered a little, at 162p today it's still only 4.5% up on its 52-week low of 155p, set at the end of November. And it's 16% down on its year high of 192p. So why has it fallen?
The drop has largely been blamed on tough European conditions and some writedown losses. But it has meant the forecast dividend yield has risen to nearly 7%. Is Vodafone a share set to recover in 2013? I certainly hope so.
Shares in my favourite high-street baker Greggs (LSE: GRG) have slumped again of late. The price hasn't quite reached its May level of 457p, but at 462p it isn't far off it. The fall might be because I'm out of the country and not spending money there every day, but it seems more likely that the recently announced resignation of chief executive Ken McMeikan is the cause of this month's fall.
But fundamentals aren't looking bad, with forecasts putting the shares on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of under 12, with a dividend yield in excess of 4% predicted. And I'll be back stuffing myself with Greggs' sandwiches and pastries in the New Year.
Morgan Sindall (LSE: MGNS) is another whose shares have slumped of late, hitting a 52-week low of 500p at the beginning of the month. The price is back up to 521p as I write, but it's still down 25% on its pre-crash price. The reason is clear -- a slump in the construction business, leading to the firm issuing a profit warning in early November.
What disappoints me is that I've always considered Morgan Sindall to be a well-managed company, and that's part of the reason I added it to the Beginners' Portfolio watchlist. The price fall has put the shares on a P/E of only around 7.5, based on forecasts issued since the profit warning. And there's still a massive 8% dividend yield predicted -- I don't have 100% confidence in that, but it could easily suffer a cut and still be attractive.
Actually, maybe I shouldn't be disappointed and should see the fall as a buying opportunity for the portfolio? Hmm...
Finally, how does Britain’s ace investor Neil Woodford avoid share price falls? He goes for a strategy of buying solid blue-chip shares paying dependable long-term dividends. And in doing so, he's built a record of beating the FTSE for nine straight years.
If you want to see how Mr Woodford manages to beat the market, the free Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" takes a look at some of his key holdings. To get your copy, click here while it’s still available.
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.