3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Lloyds Banking Group PLC, ITV plc And Sports Direct International Plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has been creeping back up over the past few days, gaining a further 18 points to reach 6,183 approaching midday today. Though the index of top UK shares doesn’t look in any danger of sliding back to the levels of its 52-week low of 5,437 from a year ago, there’s still a long way to go to regain the 13-year record of 6,876 points set on 22 May.

But some of our top companies are getting close to new records once more. Here are three regaining their high ground today:


Shares in Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) (NYSE: LYG.US) hit a 52-week high of 63.7p in May when the FTSE 100 was soaring, only to slip back a bit as the index went into reverse. But now the panic is receding, Lloyds is on the up again with the shares reaching 62.9p this morning, less than a penny short of the record — and at those levels, shareholders have doubled their money over the past 12 months.

The City is forecasting a return to profit this year for the bailed-out bank, with its shares on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 14. But that should drop significantly next year if the expected earnings growth comes to pass — and 2014 should see a return to meaningful dividends, with a yield of 2.4% predicted.


Television broadcaster ITV (LSE: ITV) is another whose share price fell back from record levels in the recent mini-panic, and once again it is back up pushing against its highs. ITV’s highest price of 139.5p per share came on 19 June, and so far today it has come within a shade of that at 139.3p. And we’re looking at another terrific share price performance, with ITV shares up more than 80% over the past year.

The company has had a few decent years, and its shares now seem to be trading on a middling valuation — with a P/E of just under 14 based on forecasts for December, and a modest dividend yield of 2.4% expected.

Sports Direct

Our third for today, Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD), is another high-flyer, with its shares up more than 75% over 12 months. And we’re seeing the same pattern again — this time a 52-week high of 544p a week ago followed by a minor fall, with the price pushing back up to 542p today in a new assault on the record.

Results for the year to April 2013 aren’t with us yet — they’re due on 18 July — but analysts are exppecting at 35% rise in earnings per share, suggesting a P/E of over 20. That might look a little high, but we do have two more years of earnings growth forecast, and we should be seeing the start of a dividend recovery.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.