The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) had a modestly successful week last week, climbing 37 points (0.6%) to end at 6,584. The two current big fears, military intervention in Syria and an end to US economic stimulus measures, appear to be subsiding — perhaps people are beginning to realise that only one of those is inevitable.
But which top shares beat the FTSE 100? Here are three that you would have done well to buy a week ago:
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ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM) shares got a bit of a filip last week from the release of the latest generation of iPhones from Apple, with its shares gaining 79.5p (8.9%) to end the week on 972p — and today they’re up another 5p to 977p.
ARM shares had fallen significantly since the year’s peak of over £11, but they’ve now recovered a lot of their recent drop and are more than 65% up over the past 12 months. But ARM is still a very highly valued company, with its shares on a forward P/E of more then 46 based on current forecasts for the year to December 2013.
The FTSE 100’s insurers had a decent week, with Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) topping the sector with a 19.8p (5%) rise to end Friday on 410.8p — the shares are now up more than 40% since May.
After a loss per share last year, Aviva is forecast to bring in positive earnings this year, with the shares on a modest forward P/E of 9.5. The dividend alone, with an expected yield of about 4%, makes the shares look attractive to me. And with the low P/E dropping even further to under 9 for 2014, there’s a decent chance of share price appreciation, too.
The mining sector has also been recovering recently, and Glencore Xstrata (LSE: GLEN) has done better than most. Shareholders enjoyed a gain of 23p (7.3%) last week, up to 341.5p. And if you’d been fortunate enough to buy near the recent low point in early July, you could be looking at a 35% recovery since then.
There’s still a fall in earnings forecast for this year, after a year of suffering from falling commodities prices, but an upswing in demand is expected to provide EPS growth for 2014.