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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: NEXT plc, Admiral Group plc And Dunelm Group plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has been up and down a bit today — first up on positive updates from miners, then down on fears for the future of quantitative easing, and by mid afternoon it’s up again with financial shares on a rebound. All in all, the index of top UK shares is up 36 points to 6,592 as I write these words.

That’s still some way from its 13-year high of 6,876, set in May, but there are certainly a few individual shares reaching new highs. Here are three setting records:

NEXT

It’s not that long ago that the idea of retailers hitting new heights seemed far-fetched, but that’s what fashion purveyor NEXT (LSE: NXT) has been doing of late. Yesterday the shares touched on a 52-week high of 4,834p, and though they’re down a little from that to 4,770p today, the price is still up more than 50% over the past 12 months.

The firm has enjoyed double-digit growth in earnings per share (EPS) over the past four years, and there’s more of the same expected — City forecasts suggest a 10% rise for January 2014, putting the shares on a P/E of 15. Dividend yields are around the 2.5% mark.

Admiral

Motor insurer Admiral Group (LSE: ADM) also reached a 52-week high yesterday, of 1,397p, before closing the day on 1,390p — at the time of writing, the shares are back from that a little at 1,373p. Over the past year, the price is up a bit over 20%.

Dividend-wise, Admiral is potentially offering one of the highest payouts in the FTSE 100, with a total yield of 6.9% forecast for the year to December 2013. But Admiral’s annual payment is unusual in that about half of it takes the form of a special dividend, so some caution is needed — but the firm has paid a special dividend every year since it joined the stock market in 2004.

Dunelm

Soft furnishings is looking like a good business to be in these days too, at least if you’re a Dunelm Group (LSE: DLNM) shareholder. The company, known for its Dunelm Mills outlets, has seen its share price reach a 52-week high of 1,047p for three days in a row now — and that takes it up more than 80% over the past 12 months.

In a year-end trading statement released at the start of the month, Dunelm revealed a 12.2% rise in total sales for the year to 29 June, and told us that profit margins are improving. Forecasts suggest a 13% rise in EPS for the year, with results due on 12 September.

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