The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has been a bit jittery this week, but it’s heading upwards today having gained 43 points to 6,548 by mid-afternoon — though it has been as high as 6,586 points during the day. Still, the overall direction is fine for regaining May’s 13-year high of 6,876, and if the latest figures suggesting a slow improvement in the UK economy are right, we could be seeing such levels again before too long.
But which individual companies are leading the index? Here are three from the top tier that are setting new records:
Shares in BT Group (LSE: BT.A) (NYSE: BT.US) are up more than 50% over the past 12 months, reaching a new high of 340.9p today — at the time of writing they’re down a bit from that on 336.9p.
Results for the year to 31 March showed a 5% fall in revenue to £18.3bn, but adjusted pre-tax profit was up by 11% to £2.7bn and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) rose by 12% to 26.6p. That set the scene for a 14% lift in the annual dividend to 9.5p per share, representing a yield of 2.8% on the current share price of 337p.
There’s a modest rise in earnings and dividends forecast for next year, with the shares on a forward P/E of a distinctly average 14.
Legal & General
After rising 45% over the past year, Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) shares hit a new 52-week high of 190.5p today, before dropping back a couple of pennies to 188.6p.
Banks and financials have been on a strong run of late, but even after such a good rise, Legal & General shares are still only on a forward P/E of 12 based on forecasts for the year to December 2013 — after EPS rose 12% last year, there’s a further 11% forecast for this year, with a dividend yield of around 4.7% expected.
The biggest rise of our three today is ITV (LSE: ITV), whose shares just keep on heading up. In fact, the TV producer and network operator has seen its price more than double over the past year, taking it up to today’s 52-week record of 155.5p.
Profits have been steadily growing for the past few years, and if analysts are to be believed, then there’s more to come. The 9% rise in EPS forecast for the year to December 2013 would put the shares on a P/E of 15, though the expected dividend yield is a rather unimpressive 2.2%.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.