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Why Marks and Spencer Group Plc, Admiral Group plc, Talk Talk Telecom Group PLC, Bovis Homes Group plc And Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc Are Flying

Last week’s first-quarter update gave an extra boost to this year’s surge at Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS), taking the share price up 4.5% on the day — M&S shares are now up 28% over 12 months, to 574p. For once, all parts of the business saw sales growth, including like-for-like figures, with online sales showing a 14% lift. After three years of stagnation, dividends are on the rise again at M&S, and the company is looking like it’s back to reasonable health.

Admiral

Insurer Admiral (LSE: ADM) plunged towards the end of last year, but in 2015 it’s made back the losses and then some, with the price up to 1,591p as I write. The insurance sector as a whole is resurgent, but Admiral’s super dividend is pushing it ahead of the pack. Payments are expected to be ramped up this year, with a dividend yield of 5.8% currently forecast, followed by 6.2% in 2016. Those levels may not be sustainable long-term, but it would be a great return in just two years.

Talk Talk

Anything telecom-related has been doing well this year too, and that includes Talk Talk Telecom (LSE: TALK), whose shares are up 34% since mid-October to 355p. After a couple of years of falling earnings, Q3 figures suggest we’ll be back to growth this year. Analysts are forecasting a 45% jump in EPS for the year just ended in March, with two more strong years predicted to bring the P/E down to 15 with a 5% dividend yield. At the moment Talk Talk is priced as a growth stock, but growth does indeed look likely.

Bovis

What can you say about Britain’s housebuilders? If you’d bought in at any time over the past few years you’d have done well, yet you’d still be holding shares that look very cheap. Bovis Homes (LSE: BVS) shares have trebled since mid-2011, yet forecasts put them on a forward P/E of a meagre 10 for this year, dropping to 8 for 2016 — and there are nice dividends yielding well above 4% expected too.

Reckitt Benckiser

We don’t usually expect household products companies to lead the FTSE, but Reckitt Benckiser (LSE: RB) shares are up 28% over 12 months to 6,066p after a surge since mid-December. Results for 2014 show a modest return to earnings growth, but the shares are now on a forward P/E of 25 with a below-average 2.2% dividend yield. Investors are clearly prepared to pay high prices for safety, it seems.

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Alan Oscroft has no position in any shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.