LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) is nowhere near its 52-week low of 5,230 points. In fact, at 5,930, it's not far short of its 52-week high of 5,989. And unless were are in for further eurozone economic shocks, the index looks far more likely to breach that upper bound soon than to slump back to its low point.
The overall index might be doing fine, but quite a few individual companies are trading near their 52-week lows. Here are three that I'm personally disappointed by for various reasons.
Vodafone (LSE: VOD ) (NASDAQ: VOD )
The recent share-price performance of Vodafone, which is a constituent of our Beginners' Portfolio, has been pretty poor. While the price has recovered a little, at 162 pence today, it's still only 4.5% up on its 52-week low of 155 pence, set at the end of November. And it's down 16% from its year-high of 192 pence. So why has it fallen?
The drop has largely been blamed on tough European conditions and some writedown losses. But it has meant that the forecast dividend yield has risen to nearly 7%. Is Vodafone a share set to recover in 2013? I certainly hope so.
Greggs (LSE: GRG )
Shares in my favorite high-street baker, Greggs, have slumped again of late. The price hasn't quite hit its May level of 457 pence, but at 462 pence, it isn't far from it. The fall may have come about because I'm out of the country and not spending money there every day, but it seems more likely that the recently announced resignation of chief executive Ken McMeikan is the cause of this month's fall.
But fundamentals aren't looking bad, with forecasts putting the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of less than 12, with a dividend yield in excess of 4% predicted. And I'll be back stuffing myself with Greggs' sandwiches and pastries in the New Year.
Morgan Sindall (LSE: MGNS )
Morgan Sindall is another whose shares have slumped of late, hitting a 52-week low of 500 pence at the beginning of the month. The price is back up to 519 pence as I write, but it's still down 25% on its pre-crash price. The reason is clear: a slump in the construction business, leading the firm to issue a profit warning in early November.
What disappoints me is that I've always considered Morgan Sindall to be a well-managed company, and that's part of the reason I added it to the Beginners' Portfolio watchlist. The price fall has put the shares on a P/E of only about 7.5, based on forecasts issued since the profit warning. And there's still a massive 8% dividend yield predicted -- I don't have 100% confidence in that, but it could easily suffer a cut and still be attractive.
Actually, maybe I shouldn't be disappointed and should see the fall as a buying opportunity for the portfolio? Hmm...
Finally, how does Britain's ace investor Neil Woodford avoid share price falls? He goes for a strategy of buying solid blue-chip shares paying dependable long-term dividends. And in doing so, he's built a record of beating the FTSE for nine straight years. If you want to see how Woodford manages to beat the market, the free Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" takes a look at some of his key holdings. To get your copy, click here while it's still available.