3 FTSE Shares Crashing to New Lows

LONDON -- For the past few months, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) has looked much more likely to breach its 52-week high of 5,989 than to slump below its yearly low of 5,075. But with the eurozone plunging back into recession, we can't be so sure now. Still, at least the current level of 5,748 points is nearer the top of the range than the bottom.

Sadly, even if the index is well away from its low point, there are individual shares hitting the depths every day. Here are three trading close to their 12-month lows:

FirstGroup (LSE: FGP.L  )
Shares in travel operator FirstGroup have been on a slide this year and are now down about 50% over the past 12 months to 176 pence -- and that's just a penny above their 52-week low of 175 pence. FirstGroup's woes stemming from the farce that was the West Coast train line franchise are well-publicized, but that is only a part of the problem, and the shares were already down before the cancellation was announced.

But if you're looking for battered companies due for a recovery, City expectations put FirstGroup shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of only six. And there's a surprisingly high dividend yield of 13% forecast. However, there's an awful lot of debt on the books, too.

Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L  )
Nobody needs telling that miners are in the dumps right now, and Anglo American is one of the hardest-hit. The share price, at 1,694 pence, is only a little above its 52-week low of 1,664 pence set last Friday.

There's a big fall in profit expected this year, but forecast growth for 2013 puts the shares on a P/E of less than 10. Are Anglo American shares oversold and too cheap now? With a longer-term view, I think they may well be.

Chemring (LSE: CHG.L  )
Aerospace and defense engineer Chemring Group has had a bad year, with the share price down nearly 50% on a year ago. In fact, at 218 pence, the price is today heading for its lowest 52-week close price. Chemring replaced its chief executive last month, with turnaround expert Mark Papworth taking the helm, and that cast doubt on rumors of a takeover by U.S. equity investment firm Carlyle.

With the price having fallen since then and forecasts now putting the shares on a P/E of just 5.6, is this another recovery candidate? Could be.

Finally, how does Britain's ace investor Neil Woodford avoid share price falls? He goes for a strategy of buying solid blue-chip shares paying dependable long-term dividends. And in doing so, he's built a record of beating the FTSE for nine straight years. If you want to see how Woodford manages to beat the market, 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 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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