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3 FTSE Shares Crashing To New Lows: G4S plc, James Halstead PLC And Petropavlovsk PLC

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is suffering a modest fall today, down 22 points to 6,491 by mid-afternoon. But it’s still way ahead of its 52-week low of 5,487, and looking more likely to regain the high of 6,876 set in May.

But what of individual companies? Sadly, there are quite a few whose shares have been plunging. Here are three from the various indices falling to new lows:

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G4S

G4S (LSE: GFS) has done it again — slipped to a new 52-week low, that is. This morning the price dipped as low as 228.5p, a smidgen below its previous worst. There’s been nothing of note since the security firm’s last interim update in May, but with past problems still firmly in people’s minds, it’s a company that is very much out of favour at the moment.

But forecasts for the full year put the shares on a P/E of 11, dropping to under 10 for 2014, and there’s a dividend yield of over 4% predicted. So are the shares cheap? Well, I think they could be, but we do need to consider the firm’s debt, which stood at £1.8bn at December’s year-end.

James Halstead

Shareholders in maker of flooring products James Halstead (LSE: JHD) have had a tough time since the start of 2013, with the price hitting a 52-week low of 246p today — though thanks to a stronger 2012, that’s actually only about 8% down over the 12 months.

The firm’s first-half figures released in March actually looked reasonable, with pre-tax profit up 2.2% and earnings per share up 6.9% — and there was a 10% boost to the interim dividend. But the share price had been climbing strongly since 2009, and it was probably just getting a bit toppy — on expectations for the year to June 2013, the shares are still on a P/E of over 17.

Petropavlovsk

If you want to see a serious crash, look no further than Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG). The gold miner’s shares have plummeted by more than 80% over the past 12 months, to hit an annual low of 73.5p today, and by about 90% over two years.

Forecasts now put the shares on a P/E as low as 3.7 with a dividend yield of 9% forecast, so why do punters rate the company so lowly? Well, it had $1.2bn of net debt on its books at the time of its Q1 statement in April, and with the price of gold falling, interest costs are covered less than 3 times by operating profits.

Finally, what’s the best way to deal with share price falls? One way is to focus on dividends, which can be spent or reinvested according to your needs — whether investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome.

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

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