3 FTSE Shares Crashing To New Lows: British American Tobacco plc, Standard Chartered PLC and Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc

With the depths of December 2012 off the radar, the historic 52-week low for the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is creeping upwards and now stands at the 6,023 point level set in June. But the index of top UK shares is still comfortable above that at 6,734 today, and even getting close to last year’s record high of 6,876 — the only question now seems to be when will it beat it?

But some shares are not likely to see new highs any time soon. Here are three plumbing new depths:

British American Tobacco

With the popularity of smoking around the world fading, the writing could finally be on the wall for the tobacco business. It certainly hasn’t helped British American Tobacco (LSE: BATS) (NYSE: BTI.US), whose share price fell to a 52-week low of 3,087.5p today. That’s a fall of only around 2% over the past 12 months, but the price has been in a slump since the summer after a bright start to 2013.

Although earnings are still rising, the rate of growth is slowing. And it’s all coming from British American’s higher-margin “Global Drive Brands”, with actual tobacco sales by volume falling.

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN) shares also had a weak second half in 2013, with the price dipping to a 12-month low of 1,239p yesterday before recovering a little to stand at 1,290p this afternoon. That’s a fall of 23% over 12 months for the bank that escaped the credit crunch, but which is now suffering from slowing Asian growth.

But the shares look like they might be bargain-priced now. Although there’s an 8% fall in EPS expected for the year just ended in December, forecasts for 2014 suggest a return to growth and put the shares on a P/E of only 9, with a dividend yield of 4.4% predicted.

Wm. Morrison Supermarkets

Shares in Wm. Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW) were round about breaking even until yesterday, when the supermarket chain released disappointing Christmas trading figures. The price promptly crashed to a 52-week low of 232.25p before bouncing back a few pennies to 236p as I write.

Morrison suffered a 5.6% fall in like-for-like sales, partly due to its lack of internet shopping at a time when rivals were seeing online sales soar — but its Ocado-powered offering should be activated this month.

On a forward P/E of under 10 and with dividend yields of around 5% expected, the shares might just be be oversold.

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>  Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Standard Chartered and has recommended shares in Morrisons.