3 Shares the FTSE 100 Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) closed above the 6,300 level for the second day in a row, finishing at 6,323 -- 16 points down for the day. With global economic optimism strengthening, pundits are looking ahead to fresh new levels for the index of top U.K. stocks, and a break through the 7,000 level this year must surely be a real possibility now.

But not everything in the market is rosy, and there are always some shares heading downward. Here are three that fell today.

Imperial Tobacco (LSE: IMT  )
Imperial Tobacco Group has been a pretty dependable investment for a number of years, but today the 24 billion pound FTSE 100 giant saw its shares take a tumble, dropping 4.3% to 2,361 pence on the release of an interim management statement for the three months to Dec. 31.

Although the firm saw net revenue up more than 2%, the outlook was said to be "challenging," with black-market tobacco sales digging into legal sales. Imperial estimates that the legal cigarette market size in the EU is currently down about 7%.

Renishaw (LSE: RSW  )
Renishaw shares tumbled 5.1% today after the firm's half-year report apparently did not meet expectations. It did look good, mind, with revenue up 18% to 174 million pounds, adjusted pre-tax profit up 39% to 43 million pounds, and adjusted earnings up 38% to 47.9 pence per share.

But even if that did not set the market alight, the shares are still up about 35% over the past 12 months -- though the price did hit a rise of 50% before the new year and has fallen back a bit since.

Mothercare (LSE: MTC  )
The recovery at Mothercare has been impressive, though the strong share-price growth has faltered a little of late, falling back over the past couple of months. And today the price slipped 0.9% to 326 pence following bad news from the company's Australia division.

With poor trading in Australia having been announced last November, the company had taken the decision to sell its Mothercare and Early Learning Centre businesses to Myer Family Company Holdings. But the deal has gone sour, and Mothercare Australia has gone into liquidation. Mothercare Australia accounted for about 7% of international sales.

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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