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3 FTSE Shares You Should Have Bought Last Week: Glencore Xstrata PLC, J D Wetherspoon plc And FirstGroup plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) failed to make it five weekly gains in a row last week, dropping back in the second half of the week to lose 76 points and end on 6,555.

But which individual shares bucked the trend and climbed last week? I wouldn’t recommend buying shares based on such a short timescale, but signs of growth or recovery are always worth keeping an eye open for. Here are three from the top two FTSE indices that would have rewarded you last week:

Glencore Xstrata

Things have generally been looking up for the FTSE’s big miners, as noises from China have been reassuring. And last week, Glencore Xstrata (LSE: GLEN) was among the biggest risers in the FTSE 100, with an 8.6p (3.2%) gain to end the week on 281p — and today the price is up a fraction on that at 282.4p.

So is this time to get into mining shares? Well, after a slide since the start of the year, Glencore is down more than 10% over the past 12 months, with forecasts for the year to December putting the shares on a P/E of 13.5. That might not sound like a great bargain, but an earnings rise forecast for 2014 suggests a P/E of under 11, and any strengthening of demand and firming of commodities prices can surely only make things look more attractive.

JD Wetherspoon

If you want the biggest FTSE winner of last week, look no further than J D Wetherspoon (LSE: JDW). The pub chain operator saw its price soar by 105.5p (16.1%) to 762p, after a pre-close update told of trading ahead of expectations. The price has falling back a bit this morning, standing at 749p at the time of writing, but that’s still more than 60% up over the past 12 months.

The cause for cheer was a 6.2% rise in total sales for the quarter to 14 July, with like-for-like sales up 3.5%. Performance for the full year should now be “slightly better” than previously indicated. Prior to the update, analysts were forecasting a 6% rise in earnings per share (EPS), and that seems sure to be beaten. There’s also a 2% dividend rise predicted, though the yield should be only around 1.6%.

FirstGroup

Troubled transport operator FirstGroup (LSE: FGP) enjoyed some respite last week, gaining 3.9p (4.1%) to end Friday on 97p. After a profit warning and the announcement of a rights issue sent the share price plummeting in May, it’s been hovering around 50% down on the year, and an “in line with expectations” first-quarter update a couple of weeks ago at least did no further harm.

Post-warning forecasts suggest a 50% fall in EPS for the year to March 2014, putting the shares on a forward P/E of under 10, and there’s a dividend of around 3.4% forecast. Is this a good time for recovery investors to get in? Only you can decide that.

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