LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) hit a new 52-week closing high today of 6,504 points. Today's gains also mark the index's fifth straight day of closing above 6,400.
But at the other end of the scale, sadly, there are companies plumbing new depths. Here are three trading close to 52-week lows today.
Shares in Kazakhstan-based copper miner Kazakhmys plunged to yet another new low today, dropping 2.3% to 521 pence. From a 2011 peak of about 1,490 pence, the shares have now lost 65%. But why the fall? The firm has been hit by a combination of rising costs, falling production volumes, and falling world copper prices -- all of which were confirmed by last month's 2012 trading update.
Analysts are expecting the year to bring a 65% fall in earnings per share, putting the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of eight. But there's also no growth expected this year, and there's a further fall in earnings predicted for 2014. Add that to a declining dividend, and it's not hard to see why the share price has crashed.
De La Rue (LSE:DLAR)
Despite recovering from last year's low of 883 pence to reach a high of 1,080 pence in October, De La Rue shares are back down again, having dropped to 891 pence last Thursday -- that's a 17% fall from the year's high point. Forecasts suggest a pretty flat year for March 2013.
An interim update on Feb. 1 confirmed that "financial results for 2012/13 are expected to be similar to those for 2011/12" but also said that the board is confident in its improvement plan, "which has a target 2013/14 operating profit in excess of 100m pounds." De La Rue celebrated its 200th birthday on Feb. 6 -- let's hope it presages a happier spell for the company.
Investors watching Lonrho in February might have wondered whether the shares could fall any further after they ended the month at 6.7 pence -- a profit warning on Feb. 4 had sent them crashing by 20% on the day.
Well, the answer is yes, as March has brought a further decline to 6.4 pence. Current City forecasts suggest a loss of 7.2 million pounds for the year to December, with only a small profit of 3.8 million pounds penciled in for 2013. Lonrho says it will publish its results "in late March."
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