3 Shares the FTSE 100 Should Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) is storming ahead again this week, having hit yet another 52-week high of 6,184 points today. It has since dropped back to 6,178, down three points on the day, but I'm not betting against the index hitting 6,200 points before long.

Further news from Japan of a planned new quantitative-easing program and an attempt to put deflation firmly in the past has boosted optimism a little, though Asian markets are responding only modestly.

But while the FTSE indexes are doing well, the same cannot be said for all their constituents. Here are three companies whose prices are falling today.

Marston's (LSE: MARS  )
Shares in Marston's are down 1.3% on the release of an interim management statement for the 16 weeks to Jan. 19. The company said it was encouraged by its Christmas and New Year trading period, and it says profitability is in line with expectations. Like-for-like sales were 1.2% ahead of the same period last year, though the final week was affected by snow. Profit for the period should be up about 2%.

After a strong recent rise, the shares are up nearly 40% over the past 12 months, with forecasts for 2013 putting them on a P/E of around 10. There's also a dividend of close to 5% expected.

Optos (LSE: OPTS  )
Shares in Optos, the medical-imaging specialist, have slipped 3.5% on the back of a first-quarter update for the three months to December. Headline revenue was down 4% to $40.3 million, though the firm reckons that underlying revenue (which it apparently arrived at by restating finance lease revenue as if it were operating lease revenue) was up 18%.

It hasn't been a great year for Optos shares, with the price down around 15% from 12 months ago, but it's still early days, and the shares are on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of only about 12 -- and decent forecasts for 2014 drop that to 10.

Bumi (LSE: BUMI  )
Coal miner Bumi has been under investigation at its PT Bumi Resources division in Indonesia by an independent team appointed by its audit committee to look into claims of financial and other irregularities.

We got an update on the investigation -- which was carried out by Macfarlanes -- today, and the share price dropped 3.2% in response. Apparently, there is circumstantial evidence to support some of the allegations, but key parties have been unwilling to be interviewed, and it cannot be confirmed. The company is also unable to release details of the report due to "unacceptable legal risks." There's nothing like transparency when it comes to corporate governance, eh?

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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