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3 Shares Beaten by the FTSE Today

The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) has been hovering around yesterday's close all day today and flat at 5,747 points with just 20 minutes left in trading. It looks like it'll take a little while longer for last week's poor economic news to fall from the short-term memories of market traders.

But price falls can bring investment opportunities for long-term Fools, and today we look at three companies whose shares are falling. Don't forget to do your own research.

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT.L  )
Johnson Matthey saw 6.2% lopped off its share price, falling to 2,180 pence after it was revealed that first-half pre-tax profit fell by 6% to 183.4 million pounds. Revenue for the six months dropped by 17% to 4.9 billion pounds. Although prices for some of the speciality metals and chemicals produced by the firm have risen, precious-metal prices are down, and general demand across commodities markets is weak.

Johnson Matthey says it faces a tough second half, with figures expected to be pretty much the same as the first half. The shares are still up 20% on their year-low of 1,807 pence, but they have lost 15% since their September peak of 2,573 pence.

Halfords (LSE: HFD.L  )
Halfords dropped 4.2% to 330 pence after the company reported a 22.5% fall in first-half pre-tax profit to 42.4 million pounds. But that's a relatively small setback: The shares are up 75% from their low point this year, and the firm's recovery is still looking on track.

It really was a tale of two quarters. Most of the damage happened in a "difficult" first quarter, while there was significant improvement in the second quarter, which benefited from the summer's cycling successes. For the full year, the company is expecting pre-tax profit of between 66 million pounds and 70 million pounds.

Gemfields (LSE: GEM.L  )
Gemfields slipped 7.7% to 36 pence after announcing the proposed acquisition of luxury jeweler Faberge Limited with the intention of enhancing the company's standing in the colored-gemstones market.

The deal, which values Faberge at about 89 million pounds and will be funded by the issue of up to 214 million new Gemfields shares, should give Gemfields control of the whole process from mining to retail jewelry.

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 has 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 owns shares in Halfords. 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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