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3 FTSE 100 Shares Hitting New Highs: Vodafone Group plc, NEXT plc and Barratt Developments Plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) isn’t really moving today, standing just a half a point ahead of last Friday’s close at 6,830 by mid-morning. But that is just 46 points ahead of what was then a 13-year high set last May, and we’re surely going to see a 14-year record set pretty soon — all it might take is a couple more decent Christmas updates.

But which individual shares are helping propel the FTSE on upwards? Here are three breaking new ground of their own:

Vodafone

Vodafone Group (LSE: VOD) (NASDAQ: VOD.US) shares just keep climbing, reaching a new 52-week high of 241.1p on Friday before ending the week at 240p — so far this morning the price has fallen back a penny to 239p.

Vodafone shares are now up more than 45% over the past 12 months, so what’s the valuation looking like? Well, with earnings per share (EPS) forecast to fall, there’s a forward P/E for March 2015 as high as 23. Dividends are still around 4.5%, but with the firm’s dividend policy having softened, I think the shares are looking a bit pricey.

NEXT

NEXT (LSE: NXT) cemented its position as one of the UK’s leading retailers earlier this month by telling us of pre-Christmas trading that exceeded expectations and declaring a special dividend of 50p per share.

It shows in the share price too, with a gain of almost 55% over the past 12 months. And though dividend yields are modest at around the 2-2.5% level, those who bought a year ago have done very well.

And we have three more years of decent EPS growth forecast, making NEXT look like a good long term bet to me.

Barratt Developments

The resurgence of housebuilders is continuing, with Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) hitting a new high of 398p today to take the shares up more than 70% over the past year. With forecasts suggesting EPS rises in excess of 80% for the year to June 2014 followed by around 40% the year after, the P/E looks set to fall to little more than 10 by June 2015.

Dividends are still low at Barratt with a yield only around 1.5% expected this year, but the whole sector is still looking like a tasty investment to me.

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