3 FTSE 100 Shares Hitting New Highs: Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Johnson Matthey PLC and GKN plc

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON: LLOY), Johnson Matthey PLC (LON: JMAT) and GKN plc (LON: GKN) reach new levels.

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The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has cautiously picked up a bit this morning, rising 26 points to 6,448 approaching midday. But we do have jobs data from the US to come later, which could raise more jitters. Still, unless there’s a huge reversal, we should be on for a winning week for the FTSE — it’s up 232 points on last Friday’s close, even though we’re still some way from May’s 13-year high of 6,876 points.

We have some individual companies reaching new 52-week highs. Here are three doing it today:


You’d have done well if you’d bought shares in Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) (NYSE: LYG.US) a year ago, as they have more than doubled in the 12 months since, and hit a new high of 66.5p this morning — as I write, the price is slightly back from that at 65.8p.

But is there anything left for buyers today? Well, the bank is expected to turn in a pre-tax profit in excess of £3bn for the year to December 2013 after years of big losses, and that would put the shares on a P/E of about 14.5. That’s a bit high compared to the other big banks at the moment, but a 2014 forecast for more than £4bn in profit drops it to 11 — and there’s the ever-looming prospect of that eventual reprivatisation.

Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) shareholders have done well over the past year too, with the price reaching a new 52-week high today of 2,816p — though it has dropped a bit to 2,780p by noon. Overall, that’s a gain of around 25% over the past year.

Full-year results released in June showed an 11% fall in revenue. Pre-tax profit was down 13% with earnings per share (EPS) down 9% (though the underlying figures were given as 9% and 2% respectively). But that was all pretty much expected, and there’s a return to EPS growth of 6% forecast for the year to March 2014.


Car and plane parts maker GKN (LSE: GKN) is our third high-flyer today, with its shares up more than 50% over the year and reaching a record of 328.2p this morning. The firm’s first-quarter update in April showed a 9% rise in sales, though pre-tax profit was down 4%, and the firm told us that “The outlook for GKN’s markets remains in line with our February statement and we continue to expect 2013 to be a year of good progress“.

Forecasts suggest modest EPS growth of just 3% for this year, but that puts the shares on a P/E of only around 12, dropping to 10.5 for 2014.

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

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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