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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Legal & General Group Plc, Booker Group Plc and Halma plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is falling away from record territory this week, losing 60 points so far today to 6,545 and putting in what looks like its third day of losses in a row. Sentiment has weakened, with the latest utterings from the Bank of England dampening hopes for a quick economic recovery. The FTSE is now 331 points short of its 22 May 13-year record of 6,876 points.

But which individual companies are reaching new highs? Here are three from the various indices:

Legal & General

Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) shares have gained more than 50% over the past 12 months, finishing Tuesday on a 52-week closing high of 202p. The latest boost came from first-half results which included a 13% rise in earnings per share (EPS) to 7.82p, with net cash generation up 23% to £500m. The interim dividend was lifted 22% to 2.4p per share.

Even after such a strong share price rise, Legal & General is still on a forward P/E based on full-year forecasts of under 13, with a 4.4% dividend yield forecast — although a similar 22% rise in the final payment would take it nearer 4.6%.

Booker

Booker Group (LSE: BOK) shares also closed Tuesday on a 52-week high, of 138.5p, again taking the price up around 50%. The last news we had from the food wholesaler was a first-quarter update in July, and it told us of a 13.6% rise in total sales over the quarter, with the group’s plan to bring its Booker and Makro brands together apparently on track.

After five years of EPS growth, Booker is currently forecast to provide a further rise of around 15% per year for the next two years, but the shares are on a rather high P/E of 26. There’s a dividend yield of 2.1% predicted.

Halma

Our third for today, Halma (LSE: HLMA), is up around 40% over the past year, reaching a 12-month closing high of 568.5p on Tuesday. The safety, health and environmental technology group released a statement on its AGM day last month, telling us that revenue for the first quarter was 13% up on the same period last year, with organic growth of 6% on a constant currency basis.

There’s a modest 8% rise in EPS forecast for the year to March 2014, with the shares on a forward P/E of 20, which is a little above the FTSE average of 14. The full-year dividend is expected to yield 2%.

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