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LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) fell a few points this morning from its three-month high, standing 10 points down at 5,799 by mid-morning.
Banks and miners have been rebounding a little of late, which has strengthened the index of top U.K. shares, but the banking sector was largely responsible for today's reversal.
But as ever with the market, this morning witnessed many individual shares within the FTSE indexes having a poor session. Here are three names the FTSE 100 should beat today.
Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN.L )
Standard Chartered, the one UK-listed bank pretty much untouched by scandal so far, slumped 19% to 1,190 pence -- and the plunge has been headline news since last night.
The bank has been accused by U.S. regulators of hiding transactions involving the Iranian government to the tune of $250 billion. With claims the bank conducted up to 60,000 transactions with clients in Iran, concealing them from regulators in defiance of sanctions against the country, it's feared Standard Chartered could lose its U.S. dealing license, which could seriously damage its worldwide business.
Pendragon (LSE: PDG.L )
Pendragon shares fell 7% to 15 pence after the car dealer announced a rise in profit for the first half of 2012. Reported pretax profit rose by 30% to 24 million pounds, but after adjusting for exceptional items, underlying pretax profit was up by a smaller margin of 8% to 19 million pounds.
However, with like-for-like vehicle volume growth ahead of the market and performance in line with expectations, things are looking pretty reasonable. And you'd have done well to buy Pendragon shares twelve months ago; they're up 50% since then.
Greggs (LSE: GRG.L )
Greggs fell back a little today, dropping 2% to 495 pence after the high-street baker unveiled its interim results. Like-for-like sales fell 2%, though total sales were up 5% to 350 million pounds, thanks to the opening of 33 new shops so far this year. There's a target of 90 new ones for the full year.
With growth progressing via motorway service stations and sales to frozen-food chain Iceland, the long term still looks good, even if high-street footfall was down a little. The dividend was lifted by 3.4% to 6 pence per share.
Finally, if you want to avoid unnecessary shocks, investing in safe dividend-paying shares is a good way to go. Neil Woodford is an acknowledged expert on that strategy, and the free Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" takes a look at some of his major holdings. Click here to enjoy your free copy while it's still available.
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