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3 FTSE 100 Shares Hitting New Highs: Aviva plc, Vodafone Group plc and AstraZeneca plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) started out sluggish this morning, dampened by a profit warning from Royal Dutch Shell, but has picked up 16 points to 6,832 by late afternoon. That’s not a great rise, but the index of top UK shares is edging ever closer to the 13-year high of 6,876 points set last May — it’s now only 44 points short! Will we see a new FTSE record before January is out? I wouldn’t bet against it.

Here are three FTSE 100 shares that are helping the index on its way to new heights:

Aviva

Aviva (LSE: AV) (NYSE: AV.US) shares just keep climbing, and they reached a new 52-week high today of 4709p — as I write, the price is a penny back from that.

Aviva shares are now up 30% over the past 12 months, and have gained more than 60% since April’s low point last year — 2014 is off to a great start with a 7% rise in just the first couple of weeks.

Even after such a strong performance, Aviva shares are still valued at a P/E of only 11 based on expectations for the year to December 2013, dropping to 10 and then 9 on forecasts for 2014 and 2015 respectively. Dividend yields are around 3.2% and rising again.

Vodafone Group

Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD) shares are back almost within a penny of the 240.7p high they set earlier this month, hitting 239.4p this morning.

There’s been no major news from Vodafone recently, but there’s a third-quarter statement due on 7 February, with the full year expected to bring a slight fall in earnings per share.

Vodafone shares are now up around 48% over the past 12 months, and shareholders also look set to enjoy a dividend yielding about 4.8% on the current share price.

AstraZeneca

Our third high-flyer for today, AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN), saw its shares touch on a new high of 3,921p this morning before falling back to 3,875p by late afternoon.

The shares got a big boost earlier this week after the drugs giant told us its return to growth should come sooner than analysts’ expectations — in fact, we’ve seen a 6% rise this week alone.

Overall, that takes AstraZeneca shares up more than 25% over the past 12 months, easily beating the FTSE’s 12% and ahead of rival GlaxoSmithKline‘s 20%.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended Vodafone.