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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: International Consolidated Airlines Grp, DS Smith plc and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

The chances of the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) regaining May’s 13-year record of 6,876 points before the end of the year are looking increasingly slim, as the index has slipped a further 23 points today, to 6,439.

Chinese factory data has depressed mining shares once again, and the US budget deadlock has caused some upset. And when economic stimulus measures are finally cut back, we should expect further downward pressure.

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But whatever the overall index is doing, some shares are hitting new highs. Here are three from the various indices that are setting records:

International Consolidated Airlines

International Consolidated Airlines (LSE: IAG), formerly known as British Airways and Iberia before the two companies merged, has had a great 12 months, with its share price more than doubling to today’s 339.7p. Along the way, the price closed on a record 340.5p last week, and today it broke that level to hit 342p.

The main driver of the recovery is an expected return to profit this year after a big loss last year. At this turnaround stage, the P/E ratio doesn’t really mean much, but the forecast trebling of earnings per share (EPS) for 2014 drops it to under 10.

There have been no dividends for a number of years, but we should see them return this year, albeit with a yield of only around 0.1%.

DS Smith

Recycled packaging supplier DS Smith (LSE: SMDS) has also had a great year, with its share price closing on a 52-week high of 288p yesterday — today it’s a penny down from that. That’s a gain of more than 50%, after the year to April 2013 brought in a 36% rise in EPS.

The firm has been raising its dividend quite aggressively, too. After an 18% boost this year to 8p per share, there’s a further 18% rise forecast for April 2014, though after the share-price gains the yield does drop to around 3.3%.

The firm’s first-quarter update last month told us that the year has started well, with chief executive Miles Roberts saying that “…we are on track to make further significant progress this year and are excited about the growth opportunities for the Group“.

Bloomsbury Publishing

Bloomsbury Publishing (LSE: BMY) shares are up only 10% over the past 12 months, but that does include a recovery of 46% since the price slumped to a low of 102p in February — climbing to reach today’s 52-week high of 149p. Over five years, however, the share price has gone nowhere as earnings have stagnated.

But at least there’s a decent dividend, after the year to February 2013 provided a yield of 5.3%. Analysts are forecasting 3.9% for the current year, and cover seems plenty adequate at more than two times.

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

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