3 Shares the FTSE 100 Should Beat Today

LONDON -- When did the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) finally break the 6,200 level again? Oh, right -- just yesterday! That seems so long ago now, with the index of top U.K. stocks rapidly approaching 6,300. It's flat at 6,264 points as of 10:30 a.m. EST, but it could yet end the week on a fresh 52-week high.

World economic news is pretty mixed. Apple's poorer-than-expected results are holding U.S. markets back, but growing optimism from China is helping to lift overall sentiment. Still, plenty of companies are struggling. Here are three constituents of the various indexes that are having a hard time today.

Avocet (LSE: AVM  )
Avocet Mining shares have dropped a further 9.3% today, taking the price down nearly 75% over the past 12 months. Today's fall was due to the release of fourth-quarter production results from the company's Inata Gold Mine in Burkina Faso.

The quarter ended with total production of 3,909 ounces of gold at a total cost of $1,246 per ounce, compared with 33,067 ounces in the third quarter at a cost of $937 per ounce. The full year saw production of 135,189 ounces at a cost of $1,000 an ounce, down from 166,744 ounces at $693 an ounce the year before.

Brooks Macdonald (LSE: BRK  )
Brooks Macdonald Group has seen its shares fall 2.8% to 1,312 pence on the day the AIM-listed asset-manager released half-year trading news. After the acquisition of Channel Islands-based fund-manager Spearpoint, Brooks Macdonald now has a total of 686 million pounds in assets under management.

The firm says trading for the period is in line with previous expectations, with revenue and profit ahead of last year. Current City forecasts suggest a 26% rise in earnings per share for the full year to June.

API (LSE: API  )
API Group, whose shares have soared by nearly 150% over the past year -- lately on expectations of a sale of the company -- saw its price slump by 14.6% to 77 pence today, as the packaging-materials manufacturer released further news of the potential sale. Since the company's announcement of interest back in November, it has today told us that a sale is far from certain and that indicative proposals so far have been below yesterday's closing mid-price of 90 pence per share.

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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