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3 FTSE 100 Shares Hitting New Highs: BAE Systems plc, NEXT plc And Admiral Group plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) had a down week last week, heading away from the 13-year record of 6,876 points it set back in May. But this week it’s started back upwards, and at the time of writing is up 12 points on the day to 6,567. That’s 309 points short of setting a new record, and that is certainly within striking distance.

But which individual shares are on the way up? Here are three from the top-flight index breaking new ground today:

BAE Systems

Shares in BAE Systems (LSE: BA) (NASDAQOTH: BAESY.US) climbed to a new 52-week high of 444.4p today, ahead of first-half results due on Thursday, taking them up 42% over the past 12 months. As BAE is a member of the Fool’s Beginners’ Portfolio, it’s a day I’ll be paying close attention to myself — we’re up a very nice 34% since we added BAE in October 2012.

Even after that rise, BAE shares still look very cheap to me, and I’m hoping for more good things to come. Based on forecasts for the year to 31 December, we’re looking at a P/E of only around 10, which is way down on the long-term FTSE average of about 14. There’s also a likely dividend yield of around 4.6%, and BAE is not a company that carries debt.

NEXT

NEXT (LSE: NXT) is considered by many, including me, to be one of our very best retailers. And that’s backed up by a 50% rise in the share price over the past 12 months, taking it to a new 52-week high of 4,920p today. Fundamental performance? We’ve seen double-digit earnings growth for four years in a row, after a modest 8% fall in the crunch year of 2009 — and that over a period when many retailers were fearing for their lives, or worse.

Forecasts suggest two more years of the same, with NEXT shares on a P/E for the year to January 2014 of 15.5, dropping to 14 for a year later. With dividend yields of only around 2.4%, the “screaming bargain” years might be past, but I reckon NEXT is still a great company.

Admiral

Motor insurer Admiral Group (LSE: ADM) is our third record-breaker for today, briefly hitting a new 12-month high of 1,411p earlier this morning before dropping back a little to 1,402p by mid-afternoon. The shares are now up 25% over the past 52-weeks. Admiral has put in five years of solid earnings growth, which is pretty impressive.

But the key attraction must be Admiral’s dividend. There’s a total yield of 6.7% currently being forecast by the City, though around half of that would be in the form of a special dividend. That would be considered less reliable than the firm’s regular annual payout, but Admiral has paid out on its special dividend every year since flotation.

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