BT Group (LSE: BT-A)(NYSE: BT.US) shares are up almost 50% so far in 2013. The shares today are trading at a five-year high.
2013 sees BT take its first serious steps to competing with rival Sky. BT has invested heavily in its TV offering BT Sport, securing broadcasting rights to a significant chunk of the Premier League fixture list. BT Sport has made a good start. If this start can be maintained, more investors will start to believe that BT can successfully add subscription TV to its operations.
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There may be another reason for BT’s strong share price. For years, the valuation has been held back by a large pension fund deficit. However, market conditions mean that this deficit has recently narrowed dramatically.
The shares trade on 13.4 times forecast earnings for the year.
Marks and Spencer
Shares in retailer Marks and Spencer (LSE: MKS) are up 30% so far in 2013. All of that rise has been delivered in the last six months. Like BT, the shares are now at a five-year high.
The share price graph suggests that the market has taken inspiration from M&S’s recent Q1 trading figures. M&S reported a decent sales increase and fast growth online.
The current valuation suggests that the market is now giving M&S the benefit of the doubt. Consensus estimates are for M&S to deliver EPS (earnings per share) for the year of 33.2p, rising to 37.3p next year. That puts the shares on a 2014 P/E of 15.
The majority of Wolseley (LSE: WOS)’s sales come from the US. As growth there picks up, Wolseley shares have rallied. In the last year, the shares are up almost 30% and today stand within a whisker of a five-year high.
The recent Q3 results showed an 8% increase in American sales. This flowed through to an overall 2.4% sales increase across the group. The result was an impressive 8% growth in trading profit.
Analysts expect a 12.3% EPS increase from Wolseley this year, followed by a 16.8% increase in 2014. The shares trade today on a P/E for this year of 19.1, falling to 16.3 for the year after. The dividend payout is expected to increase sharply, pushing the yield for 2014 to 2.3%.
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> David does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.