Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc, Greggs plc and Gem Diamonds Limited see their shares plunge.
The FTSE 100 (UKX) is still in record territory, putting on 14 points by the time of writing to reach 6,113. That comes on a day when the Bank of England kept UK interest rates unchanged at 0.5%, and chose not to extend its quantitative easing stimulus package, which has so far pumped £375 billion into the financial system.
In bullish times like these, there are far fewer losers than winners, but there are always some companies struggling. Here are three whose shares are plumbing new depths:
Wm Morrison (LSE: MRW) has had a bad year, as the supermarket chain's shares continue to be trounced by those of its rivals. While Tesco shares have been rising after a much stronger Christmas performance than last year, and J Sainsbury is up around 10% on the year despite recent falls, Morrison shares have just kept falling.
And they hit a new low of 251p today, taking them down more than 15% over the past 12 months, despite a minor rally to September. Forecasts put the shares on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of under 10 with a dividend yield of 4.6% expected, although City analysts seem to see that as a reason to sell the shares.
Shares in high-street baker Greggs (LSE: GRG) have had a lousy year as well, falling 15% to reach a new 52-week low of 442p today, although they have picked up a couple of pence to come back to 444p approaching the close. A trading update yesterday told of a weak Christmas period, with a 2.9% fall in like-for-like sales in the five weeks to 5 January. But full-year sales rose by 4.8%, although on a like-for-like basis that translated to a 2.7% fall.
But there's still a well-covered dividend yield expected, and it's looking like it'll be around 4.5% for 2012, with rises forecast for the next two years. And the share price fall has really brought it back down to what might prove to be only a modest undervaluation, with forecasts suggesting a P/E of around 11.
If you're looking for a cheap diamond miner, then Gem Diamonds (LSE: GEMD) might be worth a look. At least, the shares are a lot cheaper than they used to be, having fallen from a 2012 peak of 311p to trade today just 2p up on their 52-week low of 142p.
But digging a bit deeper shows a more complicated picture, with tough market conditions leading to expectations of a big drop in earnings for 2012. And even though a strong recovery is currently forecast for 2013, that still puts the shares on a forward P/E of 12.5, which doesn't look like a screaming bargain for such an unpredictable business. Are the shares worth buying? That's up to you to decide.
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. The Motley Fool owns shares in Tesco.