HSBC Holdings plc (LON: HSBA), ARM Holdings plc (LON: ARM) and IMI plc (LON: IMI) all set new records.
The FTSE 100 is perking up a bit today, gaining 18 points to 6,344 by early afternoon, as fears raised by the Italian election stalemate seem to be fading. After Tuesday's 85-point slump, the index of top UK shares has recovered almost all of that loss, after a strong closing session on Wednesday resulted in a gain of 56 points.
If the FTSE 100 is still off from its recent high of 6,412 points, the same can't be said of some of its major constituents. Here are three setting new records today:
Shares in high-street bank HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) (NYSE: HBC.US) hit a new 52-week high of 739.9p today, ahead of full-year results due to be released on Monday. HSBC has come out of the crisis pretty well, and though there's a 5-10% fall in earnings per share expected, we should still see a dividend yield in excess of 3.5%.
Forecasts put the shares on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 13, and with future earnings growth very likely, that looks set to fall to around 10 by 2014 -- and the dividend yield is forecast to rise to nearly 5% over the same period.
Yet another new high for ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM) shares? Yes indeed, after the price broke its previous 52-week closing high to reach 959.5p this morning -- the shares are changing hands at 957p at the time of writing.
That takes the chip designer's shares up more than 60% over the past few years, putting them on a forward P/E based on forecast 2013 earnings of 50. That looks pretty high on the face of it, but who can tell where the demand for ARM chip designs will end?
Industrial engineer IMI (LSE: IMI) saw its share price set a new record today, too, reaching 1,223p in early trading before dropping back a bit to 1,212p. We've had steadily-rising dividends from IMI for a few years, and that looks set to continue for the next couple of years, with a 2.7% yield expected for December 2012.
The firm's last interim update, in November, told us that things were in line with expectations, with revenues 4% ahead for the 10 months to date. Full-year results are due on 7 March.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.