3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc, Betfair Group Ltd and Supergroup PLC

The chances of the  FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) breaking the 13-year record it set in May any time soon are looking slimmer, as the top UK index continues today in its gloomy mood — by early afternoon it’s down a further 36 points to 6,429. The mining sector has fallen back a little today, with Glencore Xstrata reporting disappointing figures, and there is still nervousness ahead of the next utterances from the US Federal Reserve.

Still, at least we have some individual shares setting new records. Here are three from the various FTSE indices that are soaring:

Jardine Lloyd Thompson

With the insurance sector strengthening, shares in Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group (LSE: JLT) reached a 52-week closing high of 923p yesterday, though they have fallen back today to 908p. But that’s still a gain of about 17% over the past 12 months, comfortably beating the FTSE.

It comes after years of rising earnings per share (EPS) and dividends, and we have a further EPS rise of 7% forecast for the year to December. That puts the shares on a forward P/E of 17, suggesting they’re priced for further growth. Dividends should yield around 3%.

Betfair Group

Betfair Group (LSE: BET) shares reached a 52-week high of 993p today, after gaining nearly 35% over the past 12 months — the price has lost a few pennies to 989p at the time of writing. The year just finished resulted in a 27% fall in pre-tax profit and a drop of 31% in EPS, but the firm said it had made “excellent progress […] in the delivery of our turnaround plan” and told us it would make around £30m of further cost savings in the year to April 2014.

The City seems to be convinced, with analysts predicting a 50% rise in EPS for this year and a modest dividend of a little under 2%. But we’ll need a few more similar years to justify the current forward P/E of 21.


Supergroup (LSE: SGP), the owner of the Superdry fashion brand, hit a closing high of 1,187p yesterday, taking its share price up more than 150% over the past 12 months — and it’s up 80% just since early June. The year to April brought a welcome 26% rise in EPS after two years of falls, and analysts are predicting two more years of profit growth.

Again we see a growth share on a relatively high forward P/E, also of 21, falling to 19 on 2015 predictions — and two years is a very long time in the fashion business. The year to April 2014 should finally bring a dividend, albeit a small one with a 0.3% forecast yield.

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