HOW BRITAIN'S BIGGEST HAVE PERFORMED

MARKETS

This week we have chosen to rank the FT-SE stocks putting the worst performers over the last three months at the top to highlight which stocks are not keeping pace with the impressive 11 per cent gain the index has shown. Some solid blue chips are right down at the bottom and for those prepared to be patient this could be a good time to buy.

The worst performer over the last three months is the supermarket chain Sainsbury's, which led market gainers for years. The company issued a profit warning in January as it is increasing spending to reverse declining market share and investing heavily in providing banking services. It will take some time for results to show through but this is one that could be oversold.

Asda and Safeway are also in the laggards of the last three months. Investors believe the general election is adding to uncertainty over retail spending. Once it is out of the way, these stocks might recover favour on a better outlook for 1998.

The worst performer last week was healthcare company Smith & Nephew which registered a rise in pre-tax profit last year of 1 per cent. The outlook for 1997 is also considered uninspiring. The company faces tough competition in the US market. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg

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