HSBC (LSE: HSBA), Bovis (LSE: BVS) and Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) start the year well.
The FTSE 100 (UKX) didn't manage to beat its 52-week high of 5,989 points before Christmas, but it broke that barrier on 27 December to hit an intra-day peak of 5,997 points. And today the index of top UK stocks has smashed through the 6,000 level, standing at 6,037 at the time of writing -- 139 points (2.3%) up on the day.
Fools, of course, know that levels like 6,000 are pretty meaningless, as the actual number is just the result of a somewhat arbitrary calculation. It's individual companies that matter really, and a number of those are hitting new highs today, too. Here are three:
HSBC (LSE: HSBA) (NYSE: HBC.US) shares have climbed around 30% since late their low point during the summer, as the "pariah" ranking of banks is finally being cast off. The price currently stands at 666p, up 19.5p (3%) on the day, which has well beaten its 52-week high again.
The outlook for HSBC looks pretty decent, too, with a 4% dividend forecast by the City for the year to December 2012, rising to 4.5% for 2013 -- 2012 results are due in March.
Bovis Homes (LSE: BVS) is benefiting from the recovery in the housebuilding business, with its shares hitting a new high of 584p today. That's 46% up from their 52-week low of 399p set in June, and nearly 80% up from an earlier 326p low in August 2011.
There's no real return to dividends expected yet from Bovis, but analysts are forecasting very strong earnings growth for the year just ended and for 2013. We should have a trading update later this month, with 2012 results expected in February.
Associated British Foods
Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) had a very good 2012, with its shares gaining 40% during the year. And today the price has regained its 52-week high of 1,586p, previously reached on 28 December. If you'd bought shares back in March 2009 during the recessionary depths, you'd now be sitting on a 2.5-fold gain, which is pretty good for a player in such a relatively dull but essential business.
The shares do look pretty high valued right now, mind, on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of nearly 17 for the year to September 2013.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.