3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: BAE Systems plc, Rentokil Initial plc and Hays plc

Back in May, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) reached a 13-week record of 6,876 points. Since then, economic indicators have been getting better, but the FTSE has slid 366 points to today’s level of 6,510. The economic good news is, ironically, bad for shares, as it means economic stimulus measures are going to be curtailed sooner than expected. But such short-term things don’t matter to Fools.

And even if the overall FTSE is stumbling, some shares are doing well. Here are three from the indices setting records of their own:

BAE Systems

BAE Systems (LSE: BA) (NASDAQOTH: BAESY.US) shares ended yesterday on a 52-week closing high of 468p, though they’re a penny down from that at 467p as I write. That’s good news for the Fool’s Beginners’ Portfolio, which added BAE at 332.3p last October to give us a gain of 40% already. But is there anything left?

Well, even after the rise, the shares are still on a forward P/E based on December 2013 forecasts of only 11. That’s with a 10% rise in earnings per share (EPS) predicted, though EPS should be flat for 2014. The dividend is doing nicely too, with steady growth taking it to a yield of 5.8% last year — and a further rise forecast for this year would provide 4.5%, on a higher share price. Still a bargain? That’s for you to decide.

Rentokil Initial

Services firm Rentokil Initial (LSE: RTO) also closed on a record high yesterday, of 111.3p, before climbing even higher today to reach 111.6p in morning trading — by early afternoon, the price has fallen back a little to 110.2p. Rentokil shares are up around 30% over the past 12 months, after the company recorded a 5.2% rise in adjusted operating profit in its first-half report in August. There was a growth spurt in the second quarter, and the momentum is expected to continue into the second half.

Forecasts suggest rises in EPS of just over the 10% mark for this year and next. The expected dividend yield is still low at around 2.2%, though it is creeping back after having been suspended for 2009 and 2010.


If the recruitment business is a good indicator of economic health, then Hays (LSE: HAS) says things are looking good. The share price is up nearly 45% over the past year, hitting a 52-week high of 116.1p this morning before losing a little to stand at 115.2p by just after lunch. Analysts have been lifting their price targets for Hays over the past weeks, after a jobs recovery helped it to its first profit in the UK in five years.

Since the depths of the recession, earnings have been doing reasonably well, and there’s a 10% rise in EPS forecast for this year. The dividend was slashed in 2012 and held flat this year, but the 2.65p-per-share forecast for next year represents a 6% rise and a 2.3% yield.

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