LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) perked up a bit today on U.S. fiscal-cliff optimism, putting on 24 points to reach 5,936 and reversing the small falls from Friday and yesterday. Will this latest positive sentiment be enough to drive the index of top U.K. stocks past its 52-week high of 5,989 points -- perhaps even above 6,000? We shall see.
Some FTSE index constituents, however, have not been faring so well. Here are three whose shares fell today.
Catlin Group shares dropped 1.6% to 489 pence after the speciality property and casualty insurer announced its liabilities stemming from Hurricane Sandy, which caused massive damage to the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast in October.
Catlin's share of the damage is estimated at around $200 million, although that is subject to considerable uncertainty. Despite the recent drop, Catlin's shares are still up 25% over the past 12 months, and there's a nice dividend yield of about 6% forecast.
Petrofac, the FTSE 100 energy services company, saw its shares fall 1.1% to 1,661 pence on the release of a trading update that looked good. The company says it is on course to report a rise of at least 15% in net profit, telling us that everything is going in line with expectations. We were also told that Petrofac has a strong pipeline of opportunities to look forward to in 2013.
The shares have dropped a bit over the past month, and the current price puts them on a year-end price-to-earnings ratio of a little more than 14, which is close to the FTSE long-term average.
Range Resources (LSE:RRL)
Range Resources, the oil and gas explorer which has seen its shares plummet this year, faced more woe as the price fell another 5.6% to just 3.7 pence. Today's fall was triggered by the release of an update on the company's Trinidad operations and recent Texas assets disposal.
The company actually sounded positive about potential production at several of its test targets in Trinidad, telling us that the Texas sale should be complete by January.
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.