3 FTSE 100 Shares Flirting With 52-Week Lows

The Motley Fool

The FTSE 100 has started 2013 in fine form, with last week witnessing no less than three consecutive 52-week highs from the blue-chip index. Indeed, the peak of 6,090 achieved on Friday was the FTSE's highest level since February 2011.

Yesterday, however, saw the index drop 26 points following a bout of profit taking. Today, the market climbed 7 points to 6,071 during early trade as the day's corporate news failed to spark much attention.

Of course, not every blue-chip name has been pulled higher by the FTSE blasting through 6,000. Here are three large-caps whose share prices have languished of late and are currently flirting with their respective 52-week lows.


The shares of BG (LSE: BG) demonstrate how it can often pay to be patient when trying to catch a 'falling knife'.

The gas major stunned investors during October when it admitted production growth would be just 3% during 2012 and flat during 2013 -- well below the 6%-8% projections the firm had previously forecast.

BG shares, which peaked at 1,554p last year, lost 20% on the day of the warning and currently trade around 1,027p. The recent low is 991p.

Annualising BG's nine-month results suggests earnings could be running at something like 87p per share, which would place the shares on a multiple of almost 12. Later this year, BG will reduce its $11bn net debt position as it sells various assets for $7.6bn.

William Morrison Supermarkets

It wasn't only Tesco that hurt investors backing the supermarket sector last year. The shares of William Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW) had reached 320p towards the end of 2011, yet have entered 2013 at 255p -- the lowest price since mid-2009.

Morrisons' performance deteriorated last year. After reporting 2011 profits up 8%, the retailer's subsequent half-year results showed profits up only 1% and like-for-like sales turning negative.

A third-quarter statement in November then owned up to like-for-like sales down 2% and yesterday's Christmas update revealed like-for-likes deteriorating further to minus 2.5%.

Still, Morrisons has promised to lift its dividend by 10% for the current year, thereby suggesting buyers today can collect an 11.8p per share payout and 4.6% income.


Last year seemed promising for GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) investors, with the shares of the pharma giant reaching £15 for the first time since early 2007.

However, the price has since fallen to as low as 1,314p and currently trades at 1,377p. Perhaps investors were not pleased with Glaxo's Q3 results, which were issued in October and showed sales down 8% and underlying earnings down 13%.

The figures also confirmed Glaxo had bought 132 million shares for £1.9bn during the first nine months of last year -- equating to a repurchase price of 1,441p.

Shareholders may not be pleased with the billions spent on shares which have since fallen in value, but at least any further buybacks will provide a higher yield. Glaxo's trailing 73p per share dividend now supports a useful 5.3% income.

One person who may be excited by Glaxo's low price is ace investor Neil Woodford, whose strategy of buying solid blue-chip shares paying dependable long-term dividends has delivered a nine-year run of beating the market.

If you want to see how Mr Woodford manages to outpace the FTSE 100, the free Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" takes a look at Glaxo and all of his other important holdings. Just click here to read the report while it's still free and available.