The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has been having a good Christmas week, gaining 38 points so far today to reach 6,733 and taking it up 126 points on the week so far. After six weeks of losses in a row, it looks like we’re set for two weeks of gains — barring any unpleasant surprises before the end of the day.
At today’s level, the index of top UK stocks is now only 143 points behind the 13-year record of 6,876 points set in May, so we might even see new heights being reached before too long. There are plenty of individual companies helping the FTSE indices along with new highs of their own. Here are three festive winners:
Online fashion retailer ASOS (LSE: ASC) might be listed on AIM, but that hasn’t stopped it growing to a market cap of nearly £5.2bn — easily big enough for a FTSE 100 listing.
That’s thanks to a share price gain of more than 130% over the past 12 months, reaching a 52-week high of 6,252p today — the price is back a little to 6,180p as I write these words.
Whether that soaring valuation is justified will depend on future profits. And although there’s a 30% rise in earnings per share forecast for the year to August 2014, it does put the shares on a forward P/E of a lofty 96. We’d need to see earnings growing nearly seven-fold to bring that down to the FTSE’s average of about 14.
Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD) (NASDAQ: VOD.US) shares have kept on climbing, touching a high of 238.5p on Christmas Eve — today the price is a smidgen down from that at 237p.
The Verizon deal is still very much in people’s minds, together with rumours of a possible approach by AT&T. But it’s important to not let that distract us from the firm’s actual financial performance. Earnings for Vodafone are forecast to drop over the next two years to put the shares on a March 2015 P/E of over 22, more than 50% ahead of the FTSE average.
Dividend forecasts still look healthy, with the City predicting around 4.5-4.7%.
BG Group (LSE: BG) shares have comfortably outperformed the FTSE this year, gaining close to 30% against the index’s 13%. That includes a 52-week high of 1,300p today, with the price just half a penny back from that as I write.
Of our three today, BG is looking the most modestly valued, with forecasts for 2014 putting the shares on a potential P/E of 15. With dividends of only around 1.5% expected, that might still look a little high — but with the economy recovering, the energy sector could be in for a healthy run.
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.