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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Aviva plc, Hargreaves Lansdown PLC And IMI plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is still a long way from May’s 13-year peak of 6,876, having lost 33 points today to 6,516 by early afternoon, as the news of the US budget deadlock has turned sour again. That’s 360 points the index of top UK stocks needs to gain before it gets back to breaking new ground, but it still seems more likely it will achieve that than re-plumb its 52-week depths of 5,606 any time soon.

Some individual shares are climbing to new heights. Here are three from the top index achieving that feat today:

Aviva

Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) shareholders have been having a great time, with their shares up around 28% over the past 12 months — and the price hit a new high today of 432.2p, before dropping back a little to 431p by midday. That period even includes the price crash that resulted from the firm’s slashing of its dividend to a rebased lower level as of its 2012 final payment.

Looking ahead, City analysts are forecasting earnings per share (EPS) of around 44p, which would put the shares on a forward P/E of under 10. Even at today’s lower levels, the dividend should still yield about 3.8% — and it should be about 2.7 times covered by earnings and pretty sustainable.

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE: HL) shares reached a new 52-week high today of 1,071p, for a gain of 31p on the day, after the investment firm revealed a record level of assets under management in yesterday’s first-quarter update. The price is now up around 45% over the past 12 months, and it’s gained more than 130% over three years.

In this case, the price rise has lifted the forward P/E valuation as high as 28 based on full-year forecasts, which is twice the FTSE average. But Hargreaves Lansdown shares have traditionally enjoyed a high valuation, and are still expected to provide a dividend yield of 3%.

IMI

Shares in engineer IMI are up 65% over the past year, reaching a new record of 1,550p today, after news emerged that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment firm is to buy its drink-dispensing and retail-merchandising divisions.

Berkshire Hathaway will pay £690m for the deal, and the cash will be split two ways — IMI will return £620m of it to shareholders, with £70m going into its pension fund.

By early afternoon, the IMI price had slipped back to 1,518p, but that’s still 19p up on the day.

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