LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) is flat, having made up for this morning's losses to achieve a one-point gain as of 10:45 a.m. EST.
Fears expressed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the U.S. might hit its debt ceiling before the end of February dampened otherwise optimistic news of further quantitative easing in Japan aimed at boosting that country's economy.
The FTSE 100 is still pretty strong, but a few of its constituents are not doing so well. We look at three that are falling today.
Interim results sent shares in IG Group Holdings down 1.8% to 459 pence. The spread-betting firm told us that pre-tax profit for the six months to Nov. 30 was down 21% to 81.1 million pounds on revenue that fell 14% to 169 million pounds. That might be a disappointing fall, but it's better than it was looking earlier -- we had a 5% fall in early trading, and there's been a bit of a recovery later in the day.
What IG Group needs to attract spread-betters is volatile markets, and the firm told us today that it had experienced "the longest sustained period of low volatility for over five years."
IGas Energy shares have dropped 5.4% on the announcement of a placement of up to 24.3 million new shares. The new placement, at a price of 95 pence, amounts to approximately 15% of the current share capital.
IGas, which develops and produces oil and gas in the U.K. from onshore reserves in the northwest of the country, sees new opportunities in the oil shale business now that the government has lifted restrictions. Despite today's fall, the shares have still just about doubled in price this year.
ARM (LSE:ARM) (NASDAQ:ARMH)
ARM Holdings, perhaps surprisingly, is the biggest FTSE 100 faller today, down 4.2% to 836 pence. There is no news today, and the fall is probably due to some profit-taking after the shares soared from the start of 2013 -- the price reached a record 875 pence to take it up 11% on the year so far before falling back to today's price.
That's a pretty massive rise for shares that are already highly valued. Although there is certainly a big future market for ARM's designs in mobile computing, the shares are currently on an eye-watering P/E ratio of 60 based on 2012 estimates, and forecasts for 2013 only take it down to 50. The long-term FTSE 100 average is around 14.
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, this free Motley Fool report 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.