RSA Insurance Group plc (LON: RSA), BHP Billiton plc (LON: BLT) and Vodafone Group plc (LON: VOD) are all falling.
The FTSE 100 has picked up a little, gaining 32 points to break the 6,400 level by mid-morning and reach 6,411 as I write. That comes despite a handful of FTSE 100 shares trading at ex-dividend prices, but reflects improving sentiment towards Japan and Europe.
But even as the FTSE hits a new high, some individual index constituents are falling. Here are three responding negatively to news:
RSA Insurance (LSE: RSA) shares slumped 18p (13.3%) to 118p after the company slashed its dividend by 33%. The final dividend will be 3.9p per share, down from 5.82p last year. The total dividend amounts to 7.31p for a yield of 6% on the current share price, but that won't be sustained as the company told us that it "anticipates similar percentage reduction in 2013 interim dividend".
The dividend cut took the market by surprise, as there was no suggestion of it at the interim stage when the half-time payout was actually lifted. Chief executive Simon Lee believes that rebasing the dividend will help the company to invest in future opportunities and is in the best interests of shareholders.
Half-year results from BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) sent the miner's shares down 49p (2.2%) to 2,187p. The company said that "[t]he December 2012 half year was more challenging for the global resources industry", and reported a 38% drop in underlying EBIT to $9.8 billion and a 58% fall in basic earnings per share (EPS). The current divestment programme is continuing, with sales of assets worth $4.3 billion announced or completed during the six-month period.
What effect this has on full-year forecasts remains to be seen, but the City was expecting a fall in EPS of around 22%. But at least the interim dividend has been lifted, by 3.6% to 57 cents per share.
Vodafone (LSE: VOD) (NASDAQ: VOD.US) shares slipped just 0.4p (0.2%) to 163p after the results of the latest G4 spectrum auction were announced. Vodafone has acquired spectrum of 2x10 MHz in the 800MHz band, 2x20 MHz in the 2.6GHz, and 25 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band, valid for an initial 20 years. The cost was £790 million (which is a good bit less than the crazy prices paid for G3 spectrum in 2000). The other winners were BT subsidiary Niche Spectrum Ventures, Everything Everywhere, Hutchison 3G UK, and Telefonica (O2).
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Vodafone.