3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: National Express Group PLC, Brammer plc and Hilton Food Group plc

National Express Group PLC (LSE: NEX), Brammer plc (LON: BRAM) and Hilton Food Group plc (LON: HFG) set new records.

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The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is edging back up as it approaches the end of Friday. And after looking like it was going to record its third losing week in a row, by mid-afternoon it has popped its head above the 6,500-point parapet — at 6,511, it’s up 64 points on the day and 11 on the week. With economic stimulus measures sure to be scaled back sooner or later, the chances of the index of top UK shares beating the 13-year record of 6,876 it set in May any time soon look increasingly slim. But it will surely happen.

Which individual shares are reaching new highs? Here are three from the various FTSE indices:

National Express

National Express Group (LSE: NEX) is still climbing, with its shares hitting another new 52-week high today of 266.9p, though they have dropped back a little to 263.5p at the time of writing. First-half results released on 24 July showed the firm’s turnaround plan coming good, though we should still be seeing a fall in earnings per share (EPS) of around 15% for the year to December 2013.

But the shares are on a forward P/E of a fairly undemanding 12, dropping to 11.5 for a predicted 5% EPS rise the year after. Dividends should be adequately covered, and look set to yield around 4%.


Maintenance and repair products distributor Brammer (LSE: BRAM) might not sound like an exciting company, but its share price is up nearly 75% over the past 12 months, ending yesterday on a 52-week closing high of 450.5p — it was back a few pence from that to 448.5p by mid-afternoon today. A good part of that gain has come since early July, with the firm reporting first-half pre-tax profit up 3.5% to £14.6m and earnings per share up 3.3% to 9.4p.

The forward P/E is maybe a bit high at 19, but we do have a 9% rise in EPS forecast with expectations of a further 17% for 2014.

Hilton Food Group

Meat packing firm Hilton Food Group (LSE: HFG) has had a pretty good year too with its shares up 45%, and that includes a 19p (4.5%) rise today to a 52-week high of 445p. A trading update in July told us that “performance has been in line with the board’s expectations“, with first-half results due on 10 September.

We’ve seen five years of steady earnings and dividend rises from Hilton, and the City is expecting at least two more years of the same to come. With the share price having appreciated well, the 2013 dividend should yield about 3%.

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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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