LET'S look at some companies whose prospects looked interesting 12 months ago.

Cable & Wireless began the year as one of the world's leading providers of broadband data and Internet services. The share price has fallen from 900p to 350p as growth expectations have fallen away and the Internet has moved out of favour.

Though it is difficult to get excited about the short-term prospects, the Internet is still around and the company has the enviable position of a strong balance sheet.

CGNU has moved broadly in line with the market, falling by about 15 per cent. Profits from managing life assurance funds are difficult to achieve in difficult markets, though an attractive dividend underpins what is a defensive share.

Comparisons for Granada Compass are complicated by the full-scale de-merger in February.

Compass, the world leader in food service and hospitality, has outperformed the market, supported by recent strong results.

Granada has under performed as media stocks have been in the front line of the slowdown in advertising spend. Though a hold at present, the shares are likely to respond quickly at the first sign of improved market conditions.

In a similar vein, WPP, the world's second largest advertising group, has suffered though the share price has moved broadly in line with the market. The company's long term attractions remain.

Finally, National Grid has suffered disproportionately despite its defensive income stream.

Its subsidiary telecom interests include a 33 per cent stake in Energis and investments in Latin America, partly explaining the negative sentiment. The current weakness belies the longer-term attractions.

John Pearson - divisional director

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