The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) almost made it back into positive territory last week. But after a spirited recovery in the second half of the week after the much-feared curtailing of economic stimulus in the US failed to materialise, the index of top UK shares fell short and ended the week just eight points down on 6,492. This week seems to have started out bearishly, too, with the FTSE 56 points down on 6,436 as I write.
But which FTSE 100 shares beat the market last week? Here are three that did so handsomely:
Marks & Spencer Group
Marks & Spencer Group (LSE: MKS) (NASDAQOTH: MAKSY.US) shares have been a bit erratic of late, but they’re up 35% since mid-March. That includes an 18p (4%) gain last week to end Friday on 472p, and the price is up a further 14p (3%) today to 486p. Over the past 12 months M&S shares have rewarded investors with a 32% share price gain, and the year to March 2013 brought in a 4.4% dividend yield.
With a first-quarter update in July looking pretty positive, the company’s turnaround does finally seem to be convincing the markets — there’s a 4% earnings per share (EPS) increase forecast for the current year, putting the shares on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 14. And the predicted 11% EPS rise for 2015 would drop that to around 12.5.
Shares in advertising and media giant WPP (LSE: WPP) have had a great 12 months, gaining more than 40% to 1,198p. And that’s even after a 23p drop so far today, to 1,198p, from last Friday’s close of 1,221p — which provided a 57p (4.9%) gain on the week.
WPP has been on a bit of an acquisition spree of late, with its latest takeover target of Benenson Strategy Group, the firm behind President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, being snapped up by WPP subsidiary Kantor last week. WPP is set to reveal first-half results this Thursday, 29 August.
J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY) has been on a surge since the start of 2013, with its shares up more than 20% to 399p today, including a 15p (3.8%) rise last week. But what’s the reason behind such popularity?
We’ve had five years in a row of earnings and dividend rises from Sainsbury, and the markets are forecasting EPS boosts of 6% for this year and next, putting the shares on a P/E of around 12. And with the UK returning to economic growth, the “feel good” factor associated with a more upmarket shopping outlet must be worth something.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.