When the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) will exceed the 13-year high of 6,876 points it set in May is anybody’s guess, and in recent months it’s been looking like it’ll be later rather than sooner. But after a four-week losing streak, the index of top UK shares could be on for a winning week — standing at 6,499 points by early afternoon, it’s 25 up on the day and 86 points up on the week so far.
Which shares are helping the FTSE in its striving for new heights? Here are three setting records of their own:
NEXT (LSE: NXT) shares are up more than 40% over the past 12 months, hitting a new 52-week high today of 5,070p, before falling back to 5,040p just after lunch. If you’ve held NEXT shares for the long term, you’ll be sitting on a near six-bagger since late 2008, which is pretty good going in these days when the high street is supposed to be dead.
And even after that, the shares are on a forward P/E based on January 2014 forecasts of 15.5, dropping to 14 for the following year, which is by no means outrageously high.
You’d have done even better over the past 12 months in ITV (LSE: ITV) shares, which have more than doubled to today’s 172p. That took in yet another new 52-week high along the way today, of 174.7p, as the TV producer and broadcaster is coming to rely less and less on advertising revenue for its income.
After three years of strongly-recovering profits, July brought us news of a 16% rise in adjusted earnings per share (EPS), and there are two more years of double-digit EPS growth currently forecast. Forward P/E? A not unreasonable 16.
Advertising and media firm WPP (LSE: WPP) (NASDAQ: WPPGY.US) has been another of the FTSE 100’s strong performers this year, putting in a 12-month gain of more than 50%. Today the shares set a new record price of 1,256p, and currently stand a little back from that at 1,241p.
Again we’re seeing several years of growing profits, two more years of forecast EPS rises ahead, and another modest P/E rating — a forward P/E of 15, falling to under 14 for 2014, is not at all stretching for a quality company.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.