3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Kingfisher plc And ASOS plc

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON: LLOY), Kingfisher plc (LON: KGF) and ASOS plc (LON: ASC) climb high.

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Despite a hesitant start today, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is up 55 points to 6,627 by mid-afternoon, and looks like it’s heading for a fourth week-on-week rise in a row. It’ll take a bit more of that for the UK’s top-drawer index to regain the 13-year high of 6,876 it set on 22 May, but a few points a week will get it there in next to no time.

There are plenty of companies that don’t have to wait that long, of course. Here are three from the various indices rising to new highs:

Lloyds

How can a company get its shares to soar 130% to a new 52-week high? Well, one way is to first slump miserably, receive a bailout from taxpayers, and then painfully turn yourself round and back into profit. That’s the way Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) did it, of course, with its share price hitting a new high today of 70.5p. In fact, it has trebled in the last year and a half, so you’d have done well to get in at the end of 2011.

Looking forward, there’s a return to a profit of about £3.2bn forecast for the year to December 2013, and the shares are now on a respectable P/E of 16. But what investors are clearly watching carefully is the government’s plans for returning the bank to private ownership.

Kingfisher

Kingfisher (LSE: KGF) has had a fine year, with its shares up more than 40% to a 12-month high of 391p, with all of that gain coming since the start of 2013. The firm, which owns the UK’s B&Q and Screwfix brands together with a number of European outlets, recorded a fall in earnings per share (EPS) of 11% for the year to February 2013. And a Q1 update in May told us of falls in sales and profits, largely blamed on unusually cold weather.

But Kingfisher’s year is very much biased towards the summer season, and forecasts suggest a 6% earnings rise this year with a dividend yield of around 2.5%. That may be a fair valuation, but to me it doesn’t look like a screaming bargain.

ASOS

Online fashionista ASOS (LSE: ASC), it seems, can do no wrong as far as shareholders are concerned, and the price has been pushed up around 130% over the past 12 months to a record 4,516p this week. That makes the “crash” back from a peak of nearly £25 per share in 2011 look like just a blip on the share price chart now.

But high-growth companies like this are always hard to value, and though there’s a rise in EPS of more than 60% forecast for the year to August 2013, that does put the shares on a massive P/E of more than 90! To put that into perspective, earnings would have to increase more than six-fold to get the P/E down near the FTSE average of 14.

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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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