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LONDON -- The latest quarterly review of the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) has just been published. The review sees copper miner Kazakhmys (LSE: KAZ ) and property group Intu (LSE: CSCG ) drop out of the U.K.'s top index and budget airline easyJet (LSE: EZJ ) and London Stock Exchange (LSE: LSE ) join the blue-chip elite.
The FTSE committee made its decision after the market closed yesterday, and the changes take effect from the start of trading on March 18.
In a hole
Kazakhmys, the Kazakhstan copper miner, is in a bit of a rut. A 25% decline in the shares over the past three months has sealed its fate as an FTSE 100 dropout. The price of copper hasn't helped Kazakhmys, nor has its overvalued 26% stake in Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation. On the plus side, the shares, which closed yesterday at 555 pence, have been beaten down to the extent that they're now trading at something like a 30% discount to net tangible assets.
Not hot property
Intu Properties acquired its new name as recently as last month. The company is probably still better-known to most investors by its former name: Capital Shopping Centres. The owner of Manchester's Trafford Centre and other U.K. emporia hasn't thrilled the market with its 25 million pound rebranding exercise or a recent 280 million pound placing to fund the acquisition of a shopping center in Milton Keynes. Intu drops into the FTSE 250 with its shares trading at 330 pence -- on a price-to-earnings ratio of 20 and dividend yield of 4.5%.
Market ups and downs
London Stock Exchange has tended to yo-yo in and out of the FTSE 100 as its fortunes have waxed and waned with the market itself. The current bull run has seen LSE's shares gain 44% over the past three months, taking the company back into the top index.
Depending on which source you look at, consensus earnings forecasts for the current year put LSE on a P/E of between 14.5 and 17 at a share price of 1,396 pence. That's quite a high rating, but with merger and acquisition activity in general heating up this year -- and scope for consolidation in the stock-exchange sector -- I wouldn't be surprised to see a premium bid for LSE or a merger proposal materialize.
easyJet's remarkable journey from Hangar 89 at Luton Airport in 1996 to Europe's leading airline today has reached a new high with the company's entry into the FTSE 100. easyJet's shares have soared 42% over the past three months and 143% over the past year, giving it a market capitalization of 4.2 billion pounds. At a share price of 1,049 pence, the forecast P/E for the current year isn't out-and-out cheap at 13.5, but it looks pretty good against analyst expectations of 26% earnings growth.
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