LONDON -- In its recent slide, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) has given up most of the gains made since the New Year. Though it recovered somewhat today to close at 6,102 points, yesterday's close of 6,029 points was the lowest since Jan. 2. In fact, the FTSE's top index has now lost 774 points since its 13-year high of 6,876 set just a month ago on May 22. But on the bright side, it's still a long way from its 52-week low of 5,436 points set around this time last year.
In times like this, there are always share prices hitting rock bottom. Here are three from the various indexes that are in a slump.
Glencore Xstrata (LSE:GLEN)
Amid fresh fears over Chinese demand and its impact on commodities prices, the mining sector suffered yet again yesterday, and that sent shares in Glencore Xstrata to a new 52-week low of 273 pence yesterday.
The obvious question with these depressed mining giants is whether this is a good time to buy in. Well, with Glencore shares on a P/E of a lowly 11 based on forecasts for the year to December, we might be looking at a bargain. For 2014, that P/E falls to nine based on an expected recovery in earnings -- but nobody can really have much clue what shape China is going to be in that far ahead.
Royal Dutch Shell (LSE:RDSB) (NYSE:RDS-B)
Royal Dutch Shell hasn't quite sunk to a new low just yet, but the shares have been heading perilously close to the 52-week bottom of 2,092 pence set back in November 2012: The price slipped to 2,105 pence yesterday -- just 13 pence above it.
Sure, economic-stimulus policies will be wound back -- but we all knew that would happen sooner or later. And Chinese demand is weaker than we would like. However, valuing one of the world's major oil and gas companies on a forward P/E of only eight looks somewhat shortsighted to me.
Moving to smaller companies now, we find shares in Laird ending on a 52-week closing low of 171 pence yesterday -- and they only recovered to 175 pence today. Laird shares had a good start to the year, and 2012 results, reported on March 1, were respectable, highlighting increased profit and a 25% dividend boost in line with expectations.
But since then, the price of the electronics technologist has slid, with first-quarter revenue falling 2% from the same period last year and 6% in organic terms -- and the company doesn't expect to see a return to growth until the second half.
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