The FTSE 100 is still hovering around the 6,300 mark, rising to a high for the morning of 6,313 points. As I write, it's down 25 points on the day to 6,271. But in periods of little or no concrete economic news, we should expect sideways spells like this.
Even if there is no big news pushing the overall index, there are lots of companies responding to individual news each day. Here are three whose shares are dropping today:
ICAP (LSE: IAP) shares dropped back 5.8p (1.6%) today to 351p after the interdealer broker told us, in an interim update, that "trading conditions for the quarter ended 31 December 2012 remained challenging". Revenue for the period was down 13% on the same quarter last year, but January is looking up with a 17% rise in electronic broking volumes compared to last year.
The recent strength in world stock markets has contributed to a recovery of 25% for ICAP shares since November's low of 281p, including a 5.6% rise yesterday alone, so today's fall really isn't much when seen in that light.
Shares in Dairy Crest Group (LSE: DCG) have had soared by nearly 30% over the past year, so today's 11.2p (2.7%) fall to 411p is comparatively small. But again, use of the dreaded "challenging" word in today's third-quarter update looks to have caused a few jitters.
Sales were up 4% by volume and 5% by value over the nine months to December, which is a slowdown from earlier double-digit growth. But it was expected, and the company assured us that trading is still in line with expectations. Those expectations suggest a year-end P/E of 14 with a dividend yield of around 5%, with a resumption of earnings growth forecast for 2014.
Speciality plastics and electronics firm Carclo (LSE: CAR) reported a "better second half trading" in an interim update released today, telling us that demand at its Technical Plastics division is returning to normal in February after a slow couple of months. Sales of new touch-sensor technology are looking promising too, with Carclo in line for a $10 million pre-payment for an order via the firm's agreement with Atmel Corporation.
But despite that, the share price fell by 20p (4.2%) to 467p. It's had an erratic ride over the past year, but the price is still up over 30%. Technology-led growth shares are hard to value, with March 2013 forecasts putting Carclo shares on a P/E of over 50.
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