3 Shares the FTSE Should Beat Today

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) has given back some of the gains it made late yesterday, dropping 33 points to 5,753 as of 9 a.m. EST. So far, in a skittish week, the index of top U.K. shares is down 1% as global economic sentiment still appears weak.

Sadly, there are always individual companies that are falling faster than the index. Here are three constituents of the various FTSE indexes that are dropping today and look set to lag the market.

Half-year figures sent the shares of interdealer broker ICAP down 9% to 281 pence this morning. Investors seemed worried by chief executive Michael Spencer describing the six months as "one of the toughest periods in my 36 year career in the wholesale financial markets."

Revenue for the six months to September was down 14% over the same period last year at 756 million pounds, with adjusted pre-tax profit falling 26% to 137 million pounds. Although adjusted earnings per share came in 21% down at 15.4 pence, the interim dividend was lifted by 10% to 6.6 pence per share.

J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY.L  )
The highest-flying of the U.K.'s big supermarkets, J Sainsbury, saw its recent reversal continue today with a 2% fall to 340 pence following the release of half-year figures. The drop came despite the firm's market share rising to 17% -- its highest in a decade -- and underlying pre-tax profit growing by 5% to 373 million pounds. The interim dividend was lifted by 7% to 4.8 pence per share.

So why the recent share slide, which has knocked 6% off the price in the past month? It's hard to say, but maybe boss Justin King's use of the word "challenging" has something to do with it.

BT (LSE: BT-A.L  )
The shares of BT fell back a little today, dropping 0.9% to 226 pence after the telecom giant announced it has agreed terms to buy Tikit Group (LSE: TIK.L  ) . The 416 pence per-share offer values AIM-traded Tikit, which provides software and services to the legal and accountancy sectors, at 64 million pounds, which is a nice premium to yesterday's closing market capitalization of 52 million pounds.

Finally, how does Britain's ace investor Neil Woodford avoid share price falls? He goes for a strategy of buying solid blue-chip shares that pay dependable long-term dividends. And in doing so, he generally keeps on beating the FTSE year after year. If you want to see how Woodford manages it, the free Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" takes a look at some of his key holdings. To get your copy, click here while it's still available.

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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