Why 3i Group plc, Speedy Hire Plc And Sirius Minerals PLC Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

In the absence of any real news, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) today is hovering 22 points up on last night’s close, at 6,594p. As it stands, the index of top UK shares is up 50 points on last Friday’s finish, and if it stays like that we should see a fourth week of gains in a row

But which companies are lagging today? Here are three that are dipping on today’s news:

3i Group

An update for the quarter to 30 June sent shares in 3i Group (LSE: III) down 8.3p (2.2%) to 373p this morning, despite the equity firm telling us its debt is down and it intends to return more cash to shareholders. With the firm having already realised £443m from divestments, it says it will distribute 15-20% of the total of £665m expected for the full year.

The firm’s shares are now trading on a forward P/E of only a bit over 8 based on forecasts for the year to March 2014, even after the price has gained more than 80% over the past year. And with a net asset value of 326p per share, there’s not much premium in the share price, so we could be looking at a long-term bargain.

Speedy Hire

Speedy Hire (LSE: SDY) shares dropped 2.8p (4.5%) to 59p this morning — though they’re still up 150% over the past 12 months. The spur was a trading update delivered on the day of the firm’s AGM, which told us that revenue for the 3 months to 30 June fell 0.8% compared to the same period last year.

But overall, trading is “in line with management expectations for the full year“, suggesting the City’s forecast for a rise of a third in earnings per share may be not far off. It does put the shares on a forward P/E of 19, but 2015 estimates bring that down to 15.

Sirius Minerals

The pessimism that led to the last two days of price falls for Sirius Minerals (LSE: SXX) appears to have been somewhat founded, with the firm announcing this morning that the approval decision for its York Potash Project has been deferred at the request of the company itself. The share price dipped by a further 1p (4.7%) to 20.5p as a result.

Sirius told us that it wants to be sure that environmental concerns are properly addressed, saying that “The decision to seek the deferral is specifically to allow the Company time to address issues relating to European habitat legislation and robustly deal with the questions over the work completed by consultants on the environmental assessments“.

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