The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is creeping back up today, gaining 33 points to 6,455 by mid-afternoon on the back of last-minute US rises on Friday, with banks and other financials leading the way as the City awaits the conclusion of the Lloyds Banking Group story. And while we’re still some way from a new record, the FTSE is slowly heading back in the direction of its 13-year high of 6,876 set in May.
Which individual companies are reaching new 52-week highs. Here are three from the various indices doing it today:
Dunelm Group (LSE: DNLM) closed Friday on a 52-week high of 1,108p, and is down just a smidgen from that at 1,012p this afternoon. And it’s easy to see why, as the soft-furnishings retailer last week told us it expects full-year pre-tax profit in the order of £108m, after sales rise by 12% to £677m and margins strengthened.
So, we should be seeing earnings per share growth of significantly better than the 13% being forecast by the pundits before the announcement. After accounting for the upgrade, the shares are still likely to be on a P/E of 20 or more — but double-digit earnings growth for six years in a row has to be worth more than the FTSE average, right?
Shares in ICAP (LSE: IAP) also hit a new high on Friday, of 407.4p, taking them up nearly 30% on the year. The wholesale broker saw adjusted earnings per share fall 18% for the year to March 2013, after pre-tax profit slumped 20%. But it’s a volatile business, and there’s a small earnings rise forecast for the current year, putting the shares on a pretty undemanding P/E of about 11.
But what really makes ICAP worth a further look for me is its dividend. It was help at 22p per share for 2013, and it’s currently forecast to come in about the same level again for March 2014 — and that would represent a 5.6% yield on the current share price.
Housebuilder Persimmon (LSE: PSN), a constituent of the Fool’s Beginners’ Portfolio, is our third for today, with its shares more than doubling to a 52-week record of 1,289p. With the availability of mortgages slowly improving, helped by the Government’s Help To Buy scheme, the whole sector has been going through something of a resurgence.
What does the future hold? Well, forecasts of a rise in earnings of close to 25% put Persimmon shares on a P/E of nearly 18. But the housing recovery is barely underway, and 2014 expectations drop that to a market average of 14. More to come? I think so.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.