After eight days of rises so far, and with a further 17-point push to 6,672 today, could the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) be once again headed back towards the 13-year record heights of 6,876 set in May? Well, there’s only 204 points to go and we still have a couple of months before Christmas, so it must be a year-end possibility.
But putting speculation aside, there are companies in the top flight breaking new ground as we speak. Here are three:
Shares in oil & gas engineering and support firm AMEC (LSE: AMEC) finished on a closing high of 1,148p yesterday, having touched a 52-week high of 1,050p along the way — though by late morning today they were down a bit at 1,140p.
After slipping for much of the past 12 months, AMEC shares have really only started to pick up since the summer, and they’re still less than 5% ahead over the full year.
But with forecasts putting the shares on a P/E for the full year of under 14, dropping to 12 for 2014, and with modest earnings growth and a 3.6% dividend yield expected, they might just be a bargain now.
Media giant WPP (LSE: WPP) (NASDAQ:WPPGY.US) has had a better year, with its share price gaining more than 50% over the past 12 months. And today we saw it briefly reach 1,312p for a new 52-week record, before settling back to 1,304p by late morning.
Such a rise must come at the expense of a high P/E, right? Well, based on current forecasts we’re really only looking at a forward P/E of 16, and that drops to 14.5 for 2014 predictions. And for a company with good earnings growth expected and not much debt, and paying dividends of 2.5-3%, that might not be too stretching.
High-tech engineer Smiths Group (LSE: SMIN) is our third for today, with its share price hitting 52-week high of 1,444p today, taking it up about a third over the 12-month period.
Smiths has seen steady earnings per share (EPS) and dividends over the past few years, with EPS expected to grow by 5% for the year to July 2014 after coming in pretty much flat this year. Dividends have been growing steadily and provided a yield of 2.9% this year with a slight rise penciled in for next year.
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.