The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is still being held back by fears of the ending of economic stimulus policies, and we should hear more on that subject from the US Federal Reserve next week. Today the index of top UK shares is up just 9 points to 6,597 by mid-afternoon, and still some way from the 13-year record of 6,876 points set in May. But it’ll get there, and it may well be sooner rather than later.
Which companies are helping push the FTSE indices towards new heights? Here are three breaking new ground:
The positive spell enjoyed by BT Group (LSE: BT-A) (NYSE: BT.US) is continuing, with the firm’s shares reaching a 52-week high of 349.7p today before dropping back a little to 347p by early afternoon. The release of its BT Sports TV channels, together with a licensing deal with Virgin Media, has put the spotlight on the company of late, and the future is looking healthy.
We have two years of earnings growth forecast, with the shares still on a forward P/E of only 14 even after a near-50% rise over the past 12 months. Potential dividend growth is looking healthy too, with a 20% lift forecast for the current year.
Sports Direct International
Sports Direct International (LSE: SPD) ended yesterday on a 52-week closing high of 729p, ahead of joining the FTSE 100 today — the shares have subsequently dropped 20p to 709p by this afternoon. The firm, headed by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, only floated in 2007 just as the financial crisis hit, and at one stage its shares slumped as low as 32p as consumer spending dried up.
But today the firm is worth £4.3bn, and this week told us its sales were up 18% in the quarter to 31 July. That’s not a bad start.
Shares in Galliford Try (LSE: GFRD) soared to a record 1,090p yesterday, as the construction firm is lining up new contracts. On Monday, it announced a £35m deal for the second phase of the development of the prison and young offenders’ institution at Bridgend, South Wales. And today we heard of two contracts worth £60m for housing schemes in East London.
The share price is now up more than 60% over the past 12 months, with strong earnings and dividend rises forecast.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.
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