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3 FTSE 100 Shares Hitting New Highs: Lloyds Banking Group PLC, Johnson Matthey PLC and GKN plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has cautiously picked up a bit this morning, rising 26 points to 6,448 approaching midday. But we do have jobs data from the US to come later, which could raise more jitters. Still, unless there’s a huge reversal, we should be on for a winning week for the FTSE — it’s up 232 points on last Friday’s close, even though we’re still some way from May’s 13-year high of 6,876 points.

We have some individual companies reaching new 52-week highs. Here are three doing it today:

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Lloyds

You’d have done well if you’d bought shares in Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) (NYSE: LYG.US) a year ago, as they have more than doubled in the 12 months since, and hit a new high of 66.5p this morning — as I write, the price is slightly back from that at 65.8p.

But is there anything left for buyers today? Well, the bank is expected to turn in a pre-tax profit in excess of £3bn for the year to December 2013 after years of big losses, and that would put the shares on a P/E of about 14.5. That’s a bit high compared to the other big banks at the moment, but a 2014 forecast for more than £4bn in profit drops it to 11 — and there’s the ever-looming prospect of that eventual reprivatisation.

Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) shareholders have done well over the past year too, with the price reaching a new 52-week high today of 2,816p — though it has dropped a bit to 2,780p by noon. Overall, that’s a gain of around 25% over the past year.

Full-year results released in June showed an 11% fall in revenue. Pre-tax profit was down 13% with earnings per share (EPS) down 9% (though the underlying figures were given as 9% and 2% respectively). But that was all pretty much expected, and there’s a return to EPS growth of 6% forecast for the year to March 2014.

GKN

Car and plane parts maker GKN (LSE: GKN) is our third high-flyer today, with its shares up more than 50% over the year and reaching a record of 328.2p this morning. The firm’s first-quarter update in April showed a 9% rise in sales, though pre-tax profit was down 4%, and the firm told us that “The outlook for GKN’s markets remains in line with our February statement and we continue to expect 2013 to be a year of good progress“.

Forecasts suggest modest EPS growth of just 3% for this year, but that puts the shares on a P/E of only around 12, dropping to 10.5 for 2014.

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

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