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Why Diageo plc, WPP PLC and Lonmin Plc Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) lost a further 20 points to 6,525 by midday today, pulled in different directions by various company results — with a first-half boost for Royal Dutch Shell being countered by a fall for Diageo. The top index is now down 139 points so far this week, and heading further and further away from the 6,876 points it needs to reach a new 14-year high.

Which shares are dropping faster than average today? Here are three:


Disappointing first-half results hit Diageo shares this morning, sending them down 125p (6.6%) to 1,785p.

The drinks giant reported a 1.8% rise in net sales in the half, though that was slowing from a first-half rise of 2.2%. The biggest regional growth, of 4.6%, was seen in North America. But with what chief executive Ivan Menezes described as “a more challenging emerging market environment“, emerging market sales grew by just 1.3%. In product terms, beer sales fell 2.6% but all other categories enjoyed growth.

With operating profit up 9%, earnings per share rose 4% to 62.6p and the interim dividend was lifted 9% to 19.7p per share.


Advertising and media giant WPP (LSE: WPP) (NASDAQ: WPPGY.US) saw its shares fall 17p (1.3%) to 1,270p this morning, despite news of a new acquisition.

WPP’s wholly-owned subsidiary tenthavenue has taken a majority stake in Jupicorp Proprietary Limited of South Africa — a firm that specialises in customer rewards programmes.

After a strong 2013, WPP shares have fallen back a bit of late, and at today’s price they’re now off 9% from their recent peak of 1,391p earlier in January — but the price is still up nearly 30% over the past 12 months.


Lonmin (LSE: LMI) shares had a rough start to 2013, but they’ve now climbed back to just above the 12-month break-even point, and were given a bit of a boost today by an upbeat first-quarter update.

For the three months to 31 December, the platinum miner saw refined production up 45% from the same period a year previously, to 196,249 ounces. Sales for the period rose by 24% to 134,804 ounces.

Sadly, though, a fatality led to a 10% fall in total mining production to 2.6 million tonnes during the quarter.

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