3 Shares The FTSE Should Beat Today

Published in Investing on 30 August 2012

Hays (LSE: HAS) and WPP (LSE: WPP) fall on disappointing results announcements.

The FTSE 100 (UKX) is sluggishly going nowhere today, down around eight points to 5,736 points, as the markets still await the next pronouncements from central banks. Still, at least it's not falling.

Unfortunately, that's more than can be said about some of the constituents of the various FTSE indices, as we look at three whose shares are dropping today...

Hays

Hays (LSE: HAS) shares fell 5.7p (7.5%) to 71p, despite releasing annual results that showed an 11% increase in pre-tax profit to £122.4m. However, bottom line earnings per share fell by 4% to 5.47p, and the dividend was slashed by 57% to 2.5p per share -- a slightly bigger cut than the City had been expecting.

That was still a 3.2% yield on yesterday's close, and 2013 forecasts suggest 3.3%, but uncertain markets can hit recruitment firms harder than most, as it is one of the first cut-back targets during hard times -- and chief executive Alistair Cox expects next year to still be tough.

WPP

Advertising group WPP (LSE: WPP) saw its shares fall 23p (2.8%) to 808.4p after it told us, in its interim results, of slowing growth. Like-for-like revenues for the first half grew by 3.6%, with total revenues up 5.5% to £4.97bn, but at the same time the firm lowered its full year growth expectations to 3.5%, down from 4%, based largely on increasingly cautious advertising spending in its American markets. The dividend was lifted by 18%, to 8.8p per share.

WPP also revealed plans to move its headquarters back to the UK, subject to the approval of shareholders, after a change of UK tax laws affecting overseas earnings.

Range Resources

When we look at the day's list of volatile shares, there's usually an oil and gas explorer or two among them, and today it's the turn of Range Resources (LSE: RRL) to fall, by 8.5% to 5.4p per share. The news? Well, it seemed good on the face of it, as the firm announced the commencement of spudding operations at its MD248 well in Trinidad.

The rig being used, Rig 8, is the largest it has, and it should reach its target depth in 6-8 weeks, investigating formations at two different depths.

If you find the share price fall surprising, you're not alone. But the latest Motley Fool report, How To Unearth Great Oil & Gas Shares should shed some light on the industry for you, and help guide you towards quality shares in the sector. Click here to get your copy while it's still available free.

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Further Motley Fool investment opportunities:

> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.

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