After a couple of days of gains, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is slipping back a bit today, down 20 points to 6,493 by mid-morning. The miners, which recovered a bit yesterday, are all falling again, generally by a percent or two — presumably someone in China did cough.
The day-to-day fickleness that drives sentiment is really best ignored, and Fools are better off examining the real world of actual companies and how they’re performing. To that end, here’s a look at three from the various indices that are responding to actual news today:
After climbing to a 52-week high on Monday, shares in ICAP (LSE: IAP) have slumped back 30p (7.6%) to 370p this morning, after an AGM-day update revealed “mixed performance”. The interbank broker told us that revenue in the first quarter was up 2%, with volatility in the US Treasuries market on the back of the expected scaling back of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing policy, but that “trading conditions remain challenging for a number of ICAP’s businesses“.
Despite the fall today, ICAP shares are still up 20% over the past 12 months, and they’re on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of under 12. And if the dividend is held at last year’s level of 22p per share, we’ll be looking at a yield of around 5.5%.
Booker Group (LSE: BOK) has had a good year, with its share price up 40% before today. But this morning it dipped 3.8p (2.9%) to 126.5p after the wholesaler told us that tobacco sales have taken a hit — by a combination of illicit sales and the effects of the display ban.
Total sales, including Makro, actually rose 13.6%, but excluding tobacco that drops to 1.4%. Sales at Makro fell by 6% overall, though leaving out the tobacco effect takes that to a fall of 3.6% and in line with expectations. Despite the mixed figures, the statement added “After a good start, we anticipate that Booker Group is on course to meet expectations for the year ending 28 March 2014“.
Unusually for a housebuilder these days, shares in Barratt Developments fell today, losing 4.1p (1.2%) to 339p — despite an upbeat trading statement ahead of full-year results. The firm’s rate of sales is up 17.9% in the second half, and up 34.7% since the launch of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.
Average selling prices in the second half rose 9% to £221,000, reflecting a change in Barratt’s sales mix. Pre-exceptional pre-tax profit is expected to come in at £192m, ahead of analysts’ forecasts. Results for the year to 30 June are due on 11 September.
Finally, reliable dividends can more than compensate for the day-to-day ups and downs of share prices. So how about a company that’s offering a 5% yield and which could be set for some nice share price appreciation too?
It’s the subject of our BRAND-NEW report, “The Motley Fool’s Top Income Share For 2013“, which you can get completely free of charge — but it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.