3 Shares the FTSE 100 Should Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) opened a few points down this morning but has since perked up to reach 6,356 by 8:25 a.m. EST, up 0.63%. A broker's upgrade on Standard Chartered helped make the stock the biggest FTSE 100 riser so far and edged the index up a bit.

But some aren't so lucky. Here are three companies whose shares are not doing well today.

Morgan Sindall (LSE: MGNS  )
Morgan Sindall shares have dropped 9% to 524 pence after the construction and regeneration firm shocked the market by slashing its annual dividend by 36% to 27 pence per share. Revenue for the year fell 8% to 2 billion pounds, with pre-tax profit down 15% and earnings per share down 6% to 72 pence, which was all pretty much in line with expectations after profit warnings late last year.

Forecasts for the next two years suggest further declines in earnings, with the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of about 7 based on today's figures.

Severfield-Rowen (LSE: SFR  )
Severfield-Rowen shares have had a bad couple of years, dropping 77% from a 2011 peak of 330 pence. The shares had been recovering a little, gaining nearly 50% to 120 pence from December's low of 81 pence, but then an admission of cost overruns and banking worries in January plunged them back down again.

And today the price is down a further 5.1% to 74.5 pence after the firm announced that it is likely to need a new equity issue to raise about 50 million pounds in order to satisfy its banking covenants. But in a positive light, some lenders have agreed to waive some previously scheduled covenant tests.

Chariot (LSE: CHAR  )
Africa-based Chariot Oil & Gas' shares plunged 16% this morning to 25.2 pence, taking them down more than 80% over the past 12 months. In a review issued today, the firm reflected on its exploration wells drilled in Namibia, one of which has been plugged and abandoned. Chariot has amassed around 3,500 square kilometers of 3-D seismic data in Namibia, but there won't be any drilling before 2014.

The company's cash balance at Dec. 31 stood at $68 million, down from $112 million on June 30, but we were assured there's enough cash to fund all commitments until the end of 2014.

Finally, what's the best way to deal with share price falls? One way is to focus on dividends, which can be spent or reinvested according to your needs. Whether you're investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome. And that's why I recommend the brand-new Fool report "The Motley Fool's Top Income Share For 2013," in which our top analysts identify a share they believe will provide handsome dividend income for years to come. But it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.


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