LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) , along with most European indexes, is really going nowhere today, and at midday was sitting on 5,455 points, which is just 0.1% up on the day. It looks like we're in a breathing space between the G20 summit and Spain's banking bailout on the one hand, and this week's eurozone leaders' meeting on the other.
Meanwhile, individual companies have had their own problems to deal with...
I was saddened, but not surprised, to see Ocado (LSE: OCDO.L ) shares dumped today. On interim results, they lost 16 pence for a 15% loss to 92 pence. That's a long way down from the flotation price of 180 pence back in July 2010.
Although the online supermarket reported a return to a pretax profit -- 181,000 pounds for the six months to May 13 -- it still has a big climb to reach the profits that would justify its current valuation. That will need the firm's second warehouse to come online, and the funding for that is still uncertain.
Then there's the competition. Ocado's exclusivity deal with Waitrose has expired, and it is already competing with delivery services from Tesco and Sainsbury. And there is a big question of how many people really want to do their supermarket shopping online anyway; for Tesco and the others, it doesn't really matter.
Ace investor Warren Buffett's choice is quite clear, after he snapped up a goodly chunk of Tesco shares when they slipped after Christmas. If you want to read about his take on it, the free Motley Fool report "The One UK Share That Warren Buffett Loves" has the details.
Falling fund management
One of the biggest fallers in the FTSE 100 today is investment manager Man Group (LSE: EMG.L ) , which is down another 2% today to 73.5 pence. That would not be remarkable were it not for the hedge fund operator's 44% fall over the past quarter and the lack of any sign of an upturn.
The big problem is that its flagship AHL fund has not been performing well enough to levy its high-water management charges, and as a consequence, investors have been withdrawing their cash. The prospective dividend yield is now more than 15%, but that will not be anywhere near covered.
After a steady slide from 626 pence in 2008 to today's price, do you think there's a bargain here? There will be a bottom, but it would take a brave investor to try to call it.
Still being punished are the U.K.'s big banks, largely as a consequence of the ongoing euro turmoil and the government debt crisis sweeping the continent. But today I'm going to pick on Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L ) , whose shares fell 3.3% to 229 pence.
The reason is the seriously damaging technical failure that has affected huge numbers of customers of its NatWest bank and some other services. Apparently it's all down to a software upgrade gone wrong, but some people have had their balances frozen for days, and the bank has had its branches open all weekend to help with the disaster.
It's not like the other banks have had a good day, mind, and Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays are also down a little -- and down quite a lot on the year.
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Further Motley Fool investment opportunities:
- The Week Ahead: Stagecoach & Ocado
- What Every New Investor Needs To Know
- 10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market