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3 FTSE 100 Shares Hitting New Highs: Aviva plc, Drax Group Plc And Halma plc

After a losing week last week, some had hoped that better economic news would give the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) a kick start this week. But that hasn’t happened, and the UK’s top index has slipped 5 points to 6,579 heading towards late afternoon — though it has been lower during the day. It’s looking like we’ll have a bit longer to wait before we see the FTSE beat the 13-year record of 6,876 points it set on 22 May.

But quite a few individual shares are still piling on the pennies. Here are three from the FTSE indices that are setting new records:

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Shares in insurer Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) just seem to keep on rising these days. They reached a new 52-week closing high of 402p on Friday, having hit a peak of 406.4p on the way — today the price is down a little at 398p, but it’s still around 24% up over the past 12 months.

Overall, I’m pretty happy to have Aviva in the Fool’s Beginners’ Portfolio, and not just for the share price rise — I’m also expecting good dividends in the years to come, with a 4% yield forecast for this year from shares that are still on a lowly forward P/E of under 10.


Drax Group (LSE: DRX) shares are up around 42% over the past 12 months, having set a new 52-week record today of 684p. In fact, the coal-fired electricity generator has seen its shares more than double since mid-2010, although that did come after a steady slide from late 2008.

We’ve seen a few years of earnings falls from Drax, and the year to December 2013 should provide another slip. But we should see earnings per share (EPS) rising in 2014 as the firm converts some of its production from carbon-taxed coal to biomass.


Shares in safety, health and environmental technology group Halma (LSE: HLMA) have been on a steep climb over the last few weeks, gaining 60p (11%) since 24 July to touch a 52-week high of 582.5p today — the shares are now up more than 40% over the past 12 months.

After starting the current financial year with a 13% rise in first-quarter, Halma is expected to bring home an 8% rise in EPS this year. That would put the shares on a P/E of 20, and with a dividend yield of just 2% that might look a little high — but Halma looks to be priced for growth, and has a good track record of growing its earnings.

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