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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Legal & General Group Plc, Taylor Wimpey plc And Sports Direct International Plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is hovering around a six-week high today, standing four points up on the day at 6,590 by mid-afternoon. How long will it be before it once again reaches the13-year high of 6,876 it set on 22 May? Well, economic indicators are a bit mixed with inflation creeping up, but that could be seen as a positive sign.

Even if the FTSE is a little way off its peak, there are plenty of individual shares having a better time of it. Here are three that are climbing:

Legal & General

Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) shares are up around 45% over the past 12 months, and hit a 52-week closing high of 189.7p yesterday before going on to beat it to touch 190.6p today. Insurance shares were hit hard during the downturn, but Legal & General managed to keep a decent dividend going throughout.

There was a small cut in 2009, but it’s been raised every year since, and shareholders were treated to a 5.3% yield last year. After the share price rise, this year’s yield is likely to be lower (even if the absolute payment is raised), with pundits predicting 4.6%. But that’s still not bad, and the forward P/E is a fairly modest 12.

Taylor Wimpey

Housebuilding can’t go wrong, can it? Well, not for Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) at the moment, it seems, with its share price having closed on a 52-week record of 107.9p yesterday. The price has more than doubled over the past 12 months — in fact, over the past year or so you could hardly have gone wrong investing anywhere in the sector.

Is the recovery done? I don’t think so. Forecasts for this year suggest an earnings per share (EPS) rise of 30%, putting the shares on a P/E of 18. That’s higher than the long-term FTSE average of around 14, but we are surely in the early days of a housing recovery, with mortgages only just starting to become more easily available.

Sports Direct

Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD) is our third to close on a 52-week high yesterday, this time of 593p. And it crashed through that this morning to reach 598p, though it has since dropped back to 585p. The share price has now doubled over the past 12 months.

The recession hurt Sports Direct, but since the depths of 2009 things have only been looking up, with double-digit EPS growth posted every year since. And there’s a further rise of a third expected for the year ended on 30 April, with further gains predicted for the next two years.

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