It’s been some time since the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) was setting new records. It was 22 May, in fact, when it reached that 13-year high of 6,876 points. Today the index of the UK’s top companies is some way down from that 6,614, having been going through a directionless few weeks — sometimes, not even good economic news from the UK, Europe and China are enough to make a difference. Still, the FTSE will break that record sooner or later, of that we can be pretty sure.
Plenty of individual shares are rewriting history every day — here are three from the FTSE 100 reaching new heights:
Lloyds Banking Group
It’s been a good month for Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) (NYSE: LYG.US) shareholders, with the bailed-out bank’s shares finishing yesterday on a new 52-week closing high of 75.78p — and they’re actually up a bit on that at 76.54p as I write these words. Overall, Lloyds shares have soared by 140% over the past 12 months.
The price got a nice boost from the release of first-half results on 1 August, with underlying profits gaining nearly £2bn to reach £2.9bn, though there are still some one-off costs from legacy problems. The bank also upped its guidance for the full year, lifting its net interest margin prediction from 1.98% to around 2.1%. Forecasts now put the shares on a forward P/E of 15.6, and we should hopefully be getting back to a reasonable dividend in 2014.
Smith & Nephew
Medical device specialist Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN) saw its shares hit a 52-week peak of 804p this morning, before dropping back a little to 791p by mid-afternoon. The company reported a mixed first-half on 1 August, with revenue up 2% but operating profit down 11% to $395m — but it is in the midst of a “strategic priorities” refocus, and expects to put in a better second half.
Forecasts suggest a 2% rise in earnings per share (EPS), but with the share price up nearly 20% over the past 12 months, that does give us a P/E of about 16. The forecast dividend should yield around 2.2%.
Fashion purveyor Burberry Group (LSE: BRBY) saw its shares touch on a 52-week record price of 1,594p this afternoon, before settling back to 1,590p at the time of writing. There was a slump in the price late last year, but we’ve seen a gradual recovery to bring it up around 17% over the past 12 months and pretty much in line with the FTSE.
July’s first-quarter update revealed an 18% rise in revenue, with comparable store sales up 13% — the spring/summer 2013 period was described by chief executive Angela Ahrendts as being “a standout season driven by innovative marketing, cohesive monthly fashion groups and exceptional execution“. With the City forecasting an 11% rise in EPS for the year to March 2014, the shares are on a forward P/E of 20.
Finally, if you’re looking for high-performing top-drawer shares that should take you all the way to a comfortable retirement, I recommend the Fool’s special new report detailing five blue-chip shares. They’ll be familiar names to many, and they’ve already provided investors with decades of profits.
But you can only get the report for a limited period, so click here to get your hands on these great ideas — they could set you on the road to long-term riches.
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Burberry.