3 FTSE Shares Crashing To New Lows: Debenhams Plc, John Wood Group PLC and Devro plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE), at 6,736 points by late morning today, is a very comfortable 863 points above its 52-week low of 5,873. But that 52-week low came as long ago as 31 December 2012, and once that drops off the 12-month radar things will look a little less good.

In fact, once 2013 got underway the index of top UK shares took off, and reached a 13-year high of 6,876 less than five months later. But a summer dip took it back down as low as 6,023 points, and that will soon take over as our current 52-week low — the FTSE is 713 points above that today.

What about individual shares? Here are three scraping the bottom over Christmas:


While some high street shares have been recovering strongly, Debenhams (LSE: DEB) has been in a bit of a slump with its shares losing 30% over the past 12 months. That took in a 52-week low of 78.2p on 18 December, and the price is only a little up from that today at 81.5p. But do the shares deserve such a low rating?

Full-year results to 31 August showed a 2.7% pre-tax-profit fall, but earnings per share (EPS) gained 4.1% and the dividend provided a yield of 3.2%.

Forecasts for 2014 suggest a 6% drop in EPS, but that would put the shares on a pretty low P/E of 8.5 with a well-covered dividend yield of 4.3% predicted. Bargain? Could be.

John Wood

John Wood Group (LSE: WG) shareholders have had a tough year too, with their shares having lost about 8% of their value over 12 months.

Performance from the energy services engineer for this year is actually looking pretty good, with the full year to December forecast to bring in an EPS rise of better than 35% and putting the shares on a forward P/E of 11.

But earlier in the month the firm warned that the ending of some projects could mean 2014 results will come in below market expectations — the shares dropped 10% as result and remain depressed.


Devro (LSE: DVO), the maker of food-casings, has been recovering well since 2009, but 2013 has seen a bit of a retrenchment in the share price with a 12-month drop of 8%. We saw a 52-week low of 282.1p on 24 December, and the price is a fraction up on that at 283.7p today.

Performance-wise, it looks like we’re seeing a flattening-out from the high double-digit EPS growth of recent years, to a 2% rise in 2012 with a 1% fall expected this year — forecasts for 2014 suggest 6% growth.

With the shares on a P/E of just under 14 and with a dividend yield of 3.1% forecast, Devro is averagely-valued for the FTSE as a whole.

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>  Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Debenhams and Devro.