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Why Vedanta Resources plc, Premier Farnell plc and De La Rue plc Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The gloom is deepening for the  FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) today, with the UK’s top index off by 78 points to 6,460 by early afternoon. The FTSE is now only 437 points above its 52-week low of 6,023 and stands 416 points short of that elusive 14-year high of 6,876 — and we could be looking at its first close below 6,500 since mid-December.

We’ve had some pretty mixed results for FTSE companies this week, dragging the index in both directions, and things will probably remain similar through the December 2013 year-end reporting season.

Here are three from the FTSE indices that are down today:

Vedanta Resources

Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED) slipped 37p (4.5%) to 800p, after the firm reported a 3% fall in third-quarter revenues to $3.45bn — although EBITDA rose by 3% to $1.14bn in the three months to 31 December. Overall revenues from zinc fell, after production was hit due to an unscheduled shutdown in Namibia due to a tank failure.

But oil & gas production hit record levels of 224,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and iron ore mining has resumed at Karnataka in India.

Vedanta’s shares are now down 30% over 12 months, and analysts are expecting full-year earnings per share to fall by two-thirds — but there’s a very quick recovery forecast for 2015.

Premier Farnell

A pre-close update from Premier Farnell (LSE: PFL) ahead of full-year results failed to impress, and the shares dropped 19p (8.2%) to 215p as a result.

The distributor of high-tech electronics said that sales per day are expected to grow at 2.6%, with business picking up in the second half. Chief executive Laurence Bain told us that “ongoing investments made to our customer proposition have begun to positively impact our growth rates“, but said that the firm’s gross margin is expected to fall a little with its operating margin remaining flat through to 2014-15.

The results are due on 20 March.

De La Rue

It’s not been a great year for De La Rue (LSE: DLAR), whose shares are down more than 10% since a year ago. And the printer of banknotes and other high-security paper suffered a price fall of 11.8p (1.5%) today, to 783p, on the back of a quarterly update.

Trading has been in line with expectations, and operating profit should be around £90m — but the firm did note that the “The pricing environment in the printed banknote and paper markets remains challenging“.

Analysts are forecasting a 40% rise in EPS for the year, putting the shares on a P/E of under 13. With expected dividend yields of around 5%, De La Rue could be cheap now.

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