Why Vedanta Resources plc, Wm. Morrison Supermarkets plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc Should Lag The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is down 14 points to 6,783 points as I write, with BAE Systems leading the fallers, plunging 46p to 390p in early trading. Yesterday, the FTSE’s 10 day winning streak halted as the index closed flat, having grown by 10% over the period.

It’s been a stop and start year so far after a strong 2013, which saw the FTSE 100 rising around 14%, with the UK economic recovery moving ahead of expectations. As far as the recovery is concerned today, the smart voices seem to be urging us to realise that we’re not quite there yet.

Needless to say, now’s not a bad time to pick up some shares on the cheap. These are some that have fallen in price today:


opencast.miningOvernight data showing a weakening manufacturing sector in top metals consumer China hurt the miners this morning, with a host of companies trading in the red. The biggest faller among them was Vedanta (LSE: VED), which fell 6% to 855p. This marks its biggest slump of the year so far after shares previously fell 4% on disappointing financial results in January. Performance over 12 months is even worse, with the stock dropping in price by 28%.

The company, with operations in Asia, Europe and Africa, had to downgrade its production forecast for several metals, including zinc and copper. Vedanta is trying to turnaround areas of the business that are struggling. Zambia is a particular concern, as high costs and low volumes need to be addressed, perhaps through mechanized mining. 


Yesterday Morrisons (LSE: MRW) was among the big risers, adding 11p to 244p on continuing talk of a takeover. morrisonsRumours first sparked last week that the founding family is considering taking the firm private, and given the firm’s trading weakness — even having now entered the online and convenience space, performance is deteriorating — Morrisons may indeed be eye-catching for a number of private investors given its low valuation

The latest story is that bankers are working on debt financing packages of £5bn to back a possible sale. Given the size of the transaction — as high as £10bn — a number of private equity firms would likely team up.

You know how these things go, so expect Morrisons’ share price to flutter in accordance with all the latest news and developments.


rbsThe share price of RBS (LSE: RBS) (NYSE: RBS.US) fell by a little north of 1% in trading this morning. RBS yesterday paid out £165m to settle a class action lawsuit in which it was accused of misleading investors over mortgage-backed securities.

But there’s more, and this could turn into an almighty headache for, as the bank suspended yet another currency trader with regulators continuing their global investigation into alleged rigging of the £3tn a day foreign exchange market.

If you thought Libor was bad there’s potential for this to be worse.

Looking for more dependable shares?

All the shares mentioned above their share of shortcomings. Perhaps you don't like cyclical firms like Vedanta, or are worried by Morrisons' trading outlook, and think RBS is way too risky.

Should you be interested in more defensive stocks then I recommend you read this exclusive wealth report. The type of companies we like have healthy balance sheets, dominant market positions and reliable cash flow.

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> Mark does not own shares in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has recommended shares of Morrisons.