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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: TUI Travel PLC, Ashtead Group plc and Barratt Developments Plc

The bulls look to be returning to the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) these days, as it puts in a strong start this week. At the time of writing, the index of the UK’s biggest quoted companies is up another 51 points on the day to 6,501, and looking far more likely to regain the 13-year high of 6,876 points it set in May than to approach its 52-week low of 5,478 again.

But which individual companies are breaking new ground? Here are three from the various indices that are reaching higher:

TUI Travel

TUI Travel (LSE: TT) shares hit a new 52-week high of 379.9p this morning, before dropping back a few pennies to 376p by early afternoon. That takes the price up more than 120% over the past 12 months, after the travel operator posted two years of earnings growth and followed that with a strong first-half update in May.

At the time, chief executive Peter Long told us “we anticipate full year underlying operating profit growth of at least 10% on a constant currency basis”, and 10% is exactly the growth in earnings per share currently being forecast by the City. With that putting TUI shares on a P/E of 13, falling to 12 for 2014, there could be plenty more to come.

Ashtead

Equipment rental firm Ashtead Group (LSE: AHT) has had a terrific few years, with its share price more than 20-bagging since the depths of 2009 — and that includes a rise of around 175% over the past 12 months to a record 705.5p.

Results released at the end of June showed a 19% rise in revenue with a massive 87% rise in underlying pre-tax profit, and the company more than doubled its annual dividend to 7.5p per share. For the year to April 2014, current forecasts suggest a further 25% rise in earnings to give us a P/E multiple of 18, though the dividend is still on a low yield of around 1.2%.

Barratt

Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) is the latest of our housebuilders to set a new 12-month record, reaching 355p this morning and rewarding shareholders with a gain of more than 150% over the year. We have a trading update coming our way on Wednesday, and if it’s anything like May’s announcement of a 9.7% rise in reservations, the punters should be happy.

Results for the year to 30 June are due on 11 September, with City analysts expecting a 75% rise in earnings, and there’s a further boost of more than 60% currently being forecast for 2014. Dividends are also starting to make a comeback, with a modest 0.7% yield expected this year, though that is set to double next year.

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