3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Aviva plc, Hargreaves Lansdown PLC And Johnson Matthey PLC

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) appears to be resting after putting in a good day yesterday with a 53-point rise, and by early afternoon today it’s 9 points down at 6,575 points but still 28 up on the week so far. The FTSE’s 13-year record of 6,876 points set back in May is becoming a more distant memory every day, with the strengthening economic recovery ironically helping hold it back as it is sure to bring the end of economic stimulus measures sooner or later.

But if the UK’s top index doesn’t look like regaining its record highs just yet, which companies are? Here are three from the FTSE 1o0:


The insurance business has been doing well of late, and Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) has been one of the beneficiaries. Its shares hit a 52-week high of 411.5p today, before dropping back a little to 409p by early afternoon. That takes the price up 40% since April’s lows, and is good news for the Fool’s Beginners’ Portfolio which added Aviva shares at 321p in March.

Aviva itself is forecast to return to profit this year, and since its dividend was rebased, we’re looking at a yield of 4%. That’s not one of the highest around, but it is better than average and it should be well-covered and sustainable.

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE: HL) shares ended yesterday on a 52-week closing high of 1,040p. They have dropped back 21p on ex-dividend day today to 1,019p, but that fall is smaller than the dividend, so it’s actually an overall up day today.

Full-year results on 4 September showed a 22% rise in revenue to £292.4m, with pre-tax profit up 28% to £195.2m and earnings per share (EPS) up 30% to 31.4p. The shares are up 56% over the past 12 months, which puts them on quite a high P/E multiple of 28 based on full-year forecasts. The dividend yield is a pretty average 3%.

Johnson Matthey

Specialist chemicals supplier Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) is our third for today, with its shares closing on a 12-month high of 2,985p yesterday for a rise of more than 20% over the period. There has been no further news since July’s positive first-quarter update, but we do have two years of rising EPS currently forecast with dividend yields of a little over 2%.

That Q1 update was in line with forecasts, and we’ll know more when we get first-half results on 21 November.

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