3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Whitbread plc, Smith & Nephew plc and Booker Group Plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) finished last week in sombre mood, recording its fourth losing week in a row to end Friday on 6,651. And today the fall is accelerating, with a further drop of 47 points to 6,603 by just after midday, after a broker downgrade hit Tesco shares ahead of a Q3 update due on Wednesday.

The FTSE is now quite some way behind its 13-year record of 6,876 points set in May, but at least we have some individual shares scaling new heights. Here are three:


Whitbread (LSE: WTB) shares hit a 52-week high on Friday of 3,601p before dropping back a little to end the week on 3,567p — today the price is back up a little to 3,573p.

Overall, the hotels, restaurants and coffee shop group has seen its share price soar by nearly 50% over the past 12 months, with a strong boost in October after first-half results revealed a 12.4% rise in total revenue, with underlying pre-tax profit up 12.6% and underlying earnings per share (EPS) up 12.2%.

There’s a 19% rise in EPS forecast for the full year, which would place the shares on a P/E of 21 — some might see that as a bit high when there’s a dividend yield of only around 2% to be had.

Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN) hit a 52-week high on Friday of 818p before dropping back a little to end the week on 815.5p, and then fell a further penny in morning trading today.

The maker of orthopedic and other medical equipment has put in five solid years of EPS rises, right through the recession. And though there’s a pretty flat year forecast this year, we do have another 12% gain predicted for 2014, which would put the shares on a slightly-higher-than-average P/E of 15.5.

Over the past 12 months, the Smith & Nephew share price is up around 23%.

Booker Group

Wholesaler Booker Group (LSE: BOK) has also had a great year, with its shares showing the biggest gain of today’s three — more than 65% over 12 months.

There has been a steep climb since interim results in October showed a 16.5% jump in sales to £2.2bn with pre-exceptional pre-tax profit up 17% to £58.1m. The owner of Makro, amongst other outlets, has seen soaring earnings push its price up to a P/E valuation of more than 30.

That rise produced a 52-week closing high on Friday of 165.2p, with the shares down just over a penny today to 164p.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Smith & Nephew.