3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: WPP PLC, ITV plc and Johnson Matthey PLC

WPP PLC (LON: WPP), ITV plc (LON: ITV), and Johnson Matthey PLC (LON: JMAT) reach for the skies.

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The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is not going to be setting new records any time soon, of that we can be reasonably certain.

That 13-year high of 6,876 points set in May is now looking pretty remote — though hopefully we’re safe from revisiting the 52-week low of 5,606 set back in November last year. And overall, a 13% gain over the past 12 months really isn’t so bad.

Some individual companies are far outstripping the FTSE, mind. Here are three that are rising to new record levels:

WPP

WPP (LSE: WPP) (NASDAQ: WPPGY.US) shares finished yesterday on another new closing high, of 1,237p, having reached 1,253p during the day.The price has dropped back a little to 1,225p today, but it’s up around 50% over the past 12 months, and that’s pretty good going for a £16.5bn company in the top half of the FTSE 100.

The performance is based on a very solid performance, too, with the advertising and media giant reporting a 7.1% rise in first-half revenue last week, with headline pre-tax profit up 12% to a record-breaking £524m.

Even after the price rise, WPP shares are not outrageously valued, sitting on a forward P/E for the full year of 15, which is only slightly above the FTSE’s long-term average. And WPP’s rating drops to under 14 based on 2014 predictions, with a dividend yield of around 3% expected.

ITV

ITV (LSE: ITV) is another that just keeps on flying, with the shares having doubled over the past 12 months. They closed on a 52-week high of 168.8p yesterday, before losing the 0.8p by early afternoon today. And again, the fundamentals are looking solid.

The firm announced a 16% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to £270m in first-half results released in July, with adjusted earnings per share (EPS) up 15% to 5.3p.

Debt has been a bit of an issue, but since the halfway stage ITV has been paying down some of it — the firm repurchased further convertible bonds to the value of £35.6m during August, to add to those bought before the interim date.

Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) has brought us the smallest share-price rise of today’s three, gaining just over 20% during the past 12 months to reach a record high of 2,935p today — the shares are back from that at 2,917p as I write. But it’s still beaten the FTSE, and once again reflects a strong performance.

A first-quarter update on 25 July told us that sales were up 13% to £745m, excluding precious metals, with “growth across all of the divisions“. Underlying pre-tax profit for the period was up 8% to £106m and net debt, at £881m, was in line with expectations.

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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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