The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) celebrated its winning week last week by, well, going on to drop seven points in Monday morning trading to 6,526. Last week saw a 134-point gain, bringing to an end four weeks in a row of falls for the UK’s top index, but the FTSE is faltering a little today after BG Group shares fell 4% when the firm announced project delays in Egypt and Norway. But at least the mining sector is enjoying some relief today.
Which top shares beat the FTSE 100 last week? Here are three that you would have done well to be holding:
Marks and Spencer
Shareholders in Marks and Spencer Group (LSE: MKS) have been enjoying the start of a long-awaited recovery in 2013, with their shares up more than 30% since mid-January lows. And last week saw the momentum continuing, with a gain of 27p (5.7%) to 499p.
The retail sector overall is improving, and M&S saw sales rising again at the halfway stage, so what’s the rest of the year looking like? Well, current forecasts for a 4% rise in earnings per share give us a forward P/E of 15, dropping to around 13 based on a more solid rise expected in 2015, and there are dividend rises expected again after increases have been on hold for the past two years.
An oil strike is always good news for an oil explorer, and the most recent one from Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) was an especially important one. On Friday, the firm announced a “breakthrough” discovery at the Wisting Central exploration well in the Barents Sea offshore Norway, in which it holds a 20% stake — it’s the first oil ever to be found in the Hoop-Maud Basin.
Tullow’s share price responded with a 62p (6.2%) rise over the week, to end on 1,070p, which comes at a welcome time after Tullow shares had been in a slump of more than 25% over the past 12 months.
BT Group (LSE: BT-A) (NYSE: BT.US) has been in the news a bit recently with the launch of its BT Sport channels, and shareholders been having a good 2013 so far. The price gained 17p (5.4%) last week to reach 343p, taking it up around 50% over the past 12 months. The latest installment in the saga was a wholesale agreement with Virgin Media, which will see Virgin cable customers getting the channels.
First quarter profits were up too, forecasts suggest handsomely-rising dividends, and nobody has said the words “pension fund” in ages.
Finally, if you’re looking for investments that should take you all the way to a comfortable retirement, I recommend the Fool’s special new report detailing five blue-chip shares. They’ll be familiar names to many, and they’ve already provided investors with decades of profits.
But the report will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your hands on these great ideas — they could set you on the road to long-term riches.
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.