3 Shares the FTSE 100 Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) is remaining strong after a new 72 million pound Japanese fiscal-stimulus package was unveiled, helping to boost worldwide market optimism. The index of top U.K. stocks finished the day up another 20 points to 6,122.

Although the FTSE 100 is maintaining its recent gains, there are always some individual constituents of the indexes that are falling. Here are three companies dropping today.

Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW  )
Tullow Oil shares fell on the release of a trading update and production report, dropping 3.2% to 1,186 pence. And that's getting close to the shares' 52-week low of 1,098 pence again. Revenue for 2012 should come in around $2.35 billion, which is only slightly up on 2011. Year-end debt stood at approximately $1 billion. This year, Tullow intends to drill 40 new wells in a search for a billion barrels of oil, taking capital expenditure for the year to $2 billion, up from last year's $1.9 billion.

With the price now down 20% over the past 12 months, Tullow shares are on a price-to-earnings ratio of between 21 and 23 based on the next few years' forecasts, with expected dividend yields of less than 1%. But such forecasts can really be little more than guesses, given the unpredictable nature of the oil exploration business.

Aga Rangemaster (LSE: AGA  )
A trading update from Aga Rangemaster sent the shares down 2% to 83 pence. Although the company expects to see a rise in profits, it told us of "continuing headwinds of weak consumer demand," which was enough to damage confidence. With that weak demand, 2013 will see further focus on cost-reduction.

Still, with new banking facilities finalized in November, a net cash balance of 5 million pounds, and arrangements made to address the company's pension fund problems, the financial picture does at least look stable for the new few years.

Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO  ) (NYSE: RIO  )
Rio Tinto shares dropped 1.2% to 3,468 pence, though there was no relevant news. The fall since the beginning of the month is a bit of a disappointment after December's strong recovery, and it represents a general New Year downturn for the mining sector. Other FTSE 100 miners have fallen in line, with BHP Billiton down 2.7% today to 2,075 pence and Antofagasta down 1.4% to 1,303 pence.

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 has 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.


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