3 FTSE Shares Being Crushed Today

The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) has remained resilient, putting on 35 points by early afternoon, despite big miners falling on the day: Anglo American, BHP BillitonRio Tinto and Xstrata all fell a few pennies in morning trading.

But what fallers were there among the greater ranks of the FTSE? Here are three.

Chemical weakness
Yule Catto
  (LSE: YULC.L  ) , the specialist chemicals supplier, suffered a blow today after its shares dropped a massive 21% to 140 pence on the day of its preclose trading statement -- when you read the words, "The challenging trading conditions ... have continued," then you know things aren't good.

The problem is continuing weakness in demand for nitriles, a group of organic chemicals used in adhesives, polymers, and pharmaceuticals, among other applications. This, coupled with a currency-conversion hit, is expected to knock 5 million pounds off full-year operating profit. We should have the full details on June 30.

But with some commentators suggesting the fall in demand for nitriles is only short-term, is this a good chance to buy Yule Catto shares for the longer term? It just might be.

Insure your boiler?
The domestic-emergency insurer Homeserve  (LSE: HSV.L  ) , which was badly hit last October when an investigation into its sales practices was revealed, had another bad day today as investors watched the shares lose 9.6 pence for a 6% fall to 150 pence.

Although there was no specific news today, the markets seem to be dissatisfied with the levels of remuneration being paid out to boss Richard Harpin, who, despite having waived his bonus, still pocketed 6 million last year in salary and dividends from his 12% holding in the company.

The FSA investigation continues into the firm, whose shares have now lost 70% of their value in the past year. Are they oversold? Maybe.

High street out of favor again?
It's not a massive drop, but the biggest morning faller on the FTSE 100 was fashion chain Next (LSE: NXT.L  ) , which saw its shares fall 1.8% to 3,137.

This may presage an end to the recent optimism surrounding high-street retail, as Marks & Spencer also fell -- by 1% to 318 pence this morning. Still, this drop only puts Next shares back to the level they were at a week ago, and it comes on top of an overall 40% rise in the share price over the past 12 months. But we have seen big falls from Supergroup over the year, as well as from upmarket rags retailer Burberry in the past few months. Fashion coupled with the high street makes for a volatile combination.

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Alan Oscroft does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.


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