3 Shares the FTSE Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) crashed through the next anticipated barrier today, hitting a high point of 6,311 points before settling back to 6,294 -- a 10-point gain to start the week. Well, when I say "crashed" and "barrier," all I really mean is that it crossed a meaningless level that just happens to be divisible by 100.

General positive sentiment from Asian markets seems to be helping to keep the index of the U.K.'s biggest companies aloft these days, and we haven't heard of any panics from the eurozone for ages now. Happy days.

However, it's not happy for everyone, as there are always some shares falling. Here are three constituents of the FTSE indexes whose prices slipped today.

Premier Foods (LSE: PFD  )
Premier Foods shares fell 15 pence 12% to 106 pence after chief executive Mike Clarke quit after just 18 months in the top job. The company, which owns a number of familiar brands like Hovis and Mr Kipling, is to replace him with Gavin Darby, with effect from Feb. 4. Clarke apparently feels that he has played his part in the company's turnaround and is moving on to new ventures.

The firm's performance is said to be in line with expectations, so we should be seeing a pretty flat year for earnings, with the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of only about 5.5. But there's still a lot of debt to deal with.

Quindell (LSE: QPP  )
Quindell Portfolio dropped 3.5% on the news of a new equity issue. Following an exercise of warrants, 15 million new shares will be issued and are expected to start trading on AIM on Feb. 1. The firm has also officially moved into its new headquarters.

Despite this small fall, Quindell shares have almost doubled over the past 12 months, though they have actually been higher. The firm, which develops software for the insurance and telecommunications sectors, has been something of a success for investors.

Aveva (LSE: AVV  )
Shares in Aveva fell 2% to 2,186 pence today after the engineering-software developer released an interim management statement for the period from Oct. 1. We were told that overall progress has been good, with "strong cash generation in the third quarter," and performance at the company's various divisions sounds just fine, although there have been some delays in Brazil.

Aveva's shares are up nearly 40% over the past year, with strong earnings growth forecast for the next three years. But as with most growth shares, there's a high P/E to go with it -- around 30 now, falling to 23 based on forecasts for 2015.

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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