LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) closed the day up 1% to 64 points as optimism over the future of American and Japanese economic-stimulus policies trumped the loss of the U.K.'s "AAA" credit rating. The U.K.'s top-tier index has closed above 6,400 just once -- could we be in for a repeat?
But even if the FTSE is soaring, there are plenty of individual shares that are not. Here are three plumbing new depths.
Stobart Group shares closed on a 52-week low of 90.2 pence on Friday, though they recovered a bit to reach 92.5 pence today. The shares are down 40% from their early 2010 levels after earnings growth came to a halt and turned to decline. We now have a further fall of around 30% forecast for the year to February 2013, with the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.
But with earnings forecast to start rising after that, and with 6.7% dividend yields on the cards, is this a time to get in for a recovery? It might be, but the dividend will be barely covered this year, and it could be unwise to consider it safe.
Few miners have had it as hard as Lonrho, whose shares closed Friday at a new low of 6.6 pence -- they're at 6.79 pence as I write. That's down 48% from a 12-month high of 13.25 pence set in April last year. The most recent slump, a fall of 22%, came as a result of a weak fourth-quarter trading statement released on Feb. 4.
There's a loss per share currently expected for the year ended December 2012, with only modest earnings of 0.24 pence per share forecast for 2013, putting the shares on a prospective P/E of 29.
Bloomsbury Publishing shares have been on a slide since the start of the year, taking them down to a 52-week low of 102 pence today. The price was soaring as high as 148 pence in August, so it's down 29% since that peak.
Forecasts for the year to February suggest a 10% fall in earnings per share, putting the price on a P/E of 8.7 with a 5.3% dividend yield expected. The dividend should be twice covered, and earnings are forecast to stabilize over the next two years, so is there are bargain here? Well, it was Harry Potter that made Bloomsbury its money, and the future of print publishers is by no means certain, so it wouldn't be without risk.
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Alan Oscroft and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.