After a down week last week, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is still some way from the 13-year high of 6,876 points it set in May. But at 6,576 points this afternoon, it is 21 up on the week so far and exactly 300 short of that record. And 300 points is nothing compared to the volatility we’ve seen in the UK’s top index over the past year.
It’s individual companies that will drive the FTSE to new heights, so which ones are looking good? Here are three from the FTSE indices that are setting new trends:
It seems ITV just can’t do any wrong these days. Shares in the TV producer and broadcaster had already more than doubled over the past 12 months, before solid first-half figures released today sent the price up further, flying to another new 52-week high of 166.5p — by mid-afternoon, they’re back from that a fraction at 164.6p. Overall revenue rose a modest 2% to £1.39bn, but a shift away from volatile advertising revenue was key. And from that, we saw adjusted pre-tax profit up 16% to £270m with earnings per share (EPS) up 15% to 5.3p.
Forecasts for full-year EPS of 10p put the shares on a forward P/E of 16.5, which is slightly above the FTSE’s long-term average of around 14. But with the way ITV is performing these days, I really don’t see that as too stretching.
William Hill (LSE: WMH) shares have had a great year too, soaring by more than 60% over the past 12 months to hit a 52-week high of 483.7p today — as I write, they’re on 483.4p. The reason for today’s push? Well, first-half results are due on Friday, and they come after a pretty strong first quarter — overall Q1 net revenue was up 15% and operating profit up 8%, with online net revenue up 21%.
Like ITV, forecasts for the full year put William Hill shares on a P/E that’s slightly higher than average, but at 16 it’s not too dramatic, especially as there are two years of EPS growth expected and the firm carries little debt. Dividends are still modest, mind, with a yield of only about 2.5% expected this year.
Shares in TV technologist Pace stormed up 31p (11%) to 308p today, meaning the price has now doubled over the past 12 months and has reached a new 52-week high. The spike came after the firm reported a 31% rise in first-half revenue to $1.3bn, largely driven by demand for its media servers in North American markets. Adjusted EBITDA was up 57% to $96.7m, adjusted EPS climbed 73% to 22.1 cents, and the interim dividend was lifted 27% to 1.83 cents per share.
Pace isn’t exactly a big income share right now, with a forecast yield of about 1.3%, but the shares are on a forward P/E of only around 10. Does that look cheap to you? Going on the firm’s saying that “we anticipate that full year profits for the Group will be higher than previous guidance“, you could be forgiven for thinking so.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.