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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Diageo plc, ASOS plc And Cobham plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is hovering around two-months highs at the moment, with an erratic day so far today — after an early rise, the UK’s top-tier index is down 28 points on the day to 6,619 by mid-afternoon. But every positive week for the index takes it a step closer to the 13-year record of 6,876 points set on 22 May, and it’s currently only 257 points short of the mark.

Individual companies are always setting new records. Here are three from the various indices breaking new ground today:

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Diageo

Diageo (LSE: DGE) (NYSE: DEO.US) shares have had a strong year, climbing more than 20% over the past 12 months to reach a new 52-week record of 2,114p today — the price has fallen back a little to 2,102p at the time of writing. That’s an impressive gain for a £52bn company, and it gives investors an overall 2.8-bagger since 2009’s low point of 733p.

But is there more to come? Well, after years of reliable earnings and dividend increases, Diageo shares are now on a forward P/E of over 18 based on forecasts for the year to June 2014 — and that’s higher than both Diageo’s and the FTSE’s longer-term averages.

ASOS

ASOS (LSE: ASC) shares just keep soaring to new heights, and broke the £50 barrier today with an all-time high of 5,013p before dropping back to 4,988p by around 2pm. And if that’s not enough, the price of the online fashionista has multiplied 2.7 times over the past 12 months alone.

But such stratospheric rises come at a price, and ASOS shares are now trading on a price-to-earnings multiple of 98 — and if that doesn’t make your eyes water, you have a better head for heights than mine. To put that into some kind of perspective, earnings per share would have to multiple another seven-fold to get the ASOS P/E down to the FTSE’s long-term average of 14.

Cobham

Shares in aerospace and defence engineer Cobham (LSE: COB) are up more than 30% over the past year, hitting a new 52-week high of 311.9p this afternoon — they’re at 311.8p as I write. Cobham has turned in a series of steady earnings and dividend rises over the past few years, though there’s a modest dip in EPS forecast this year, and as of the firm’s April update things were in line with expectations.

The forward P/E stands at just over 14, with a dividend yield of 3.2% predicted — both very close the FTSE averages. But the dividend should represent a rise of nearly 10%, and forecasts suggest something similar again for 2014.

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

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