3 FTSE 100 Shares Hitting New Highs: Aviva plc, Persimmon plc and Johnson Matthey PLC

If the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is to regain the 13-year high of 6,876 set in May, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be this week. The index of top UK shares is down 23 points as I write today, to 6,732, but it is at least one point up on the week so far. And we are only 144 points short of that record, so maybe we’ll see a boost from the next meetings of the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.

In the meantime, some individual members of the index are setting new records of their own. Here are three:


With the resurgence of the insurance sector, Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) shares have had a very strong run since slumping to under 300p in April 2013, and they’ve climbed to a 52-week high today of 458p — that’s a 20% rise over 12 months, despite that early dip.

The firm’s earnings slide during the recession is set to reverse for the year to December 2013, with a decent EPS of 43p per share forecast, and we have rises predicted for the next two years.

Even after such a good year, the shares are still on a P/E of only 10.5, dropping to under 10 for 2014 forecasts. After the recent rebasing, dividends are expected to yield around 3.5%.


Persimmon (LSE: PSN) continues its surge, with its share price touching on a new high of 1,343p today, before dropping back a little to 1,299 by mid-afternoon. The price is now up approximately 55% over the past 12 months and around 170% over two years.

An update today told us of a “strong finish to the year“, with 16% more house sales than last year for a total of 11,528. The second half saw a 30% rise over the first half, so things are really starting to look good.

Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT) is our third for today, with a climb of more than 40% over the past 12 months to a closing high of 3,313p yesterday — today the price is back a little from that at 3,310p.

Johnson Matthey has three solid years of EPS rises forecast, with 10% expected for the year to March 2014 and rising a little for the subsequent two years. But the shares are on a relatively high P/E rating of 20 based on the current year’s forecasts, and it drops only as far as 16 on 2016 predictions. Dividends are fairly low, with a yield of 2% forecast.

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