3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs: Smith & Nephew plc, Persimmon plc And London Stock Exchange Group plc

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) edged slightly up this morning after it yesterday posted a second straight day of gains — as Vodafone expressed confidence its revenues would improve — ending a five-day losing run. Overall it’s up six points to 6554p as investors await US jobs data. Markets have been plagued over the last two weeks by signs of economic slowdown in China and the US.

Investors are hoping for strong US jobs figures — after yesterday’s decline in new unemployment claims — to ease concern about the strength of the world’s largest economy. The figures are due out later today.

Smith & Nephew

smith & nephewShares in Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN) (NYSE: SNN.US) have reached a 52-week high after yesterday posting an 8% profit increase. The medical technology firm, which manufactures artificial hips and knees, is up 2p on its previous benchmark to 906p this morning.

The firm is well placed to benefit from increasing mobility ailments as the developed world’s population ages and fights an obesity crisis. After the welcome profit boost the chief executive, Olivier Bohuon, stated that the company is targeting investments in new growth opportunities. Smith & Western recently acquired AthroCare, which specialises in sports medicine.


2013 was a bumper year for the British homebuilding industry. A recovering economy, coupled with increased lending and government support for buyers led to swelling demand for new homes. Persimmon (LSE: PSN) recently posted a 21% upswing in full-year revenues. The share price has been rising for several months — today peaking at 1,375p.

Investors are bullish on Persimmon’s  fundamental business strength and potential for growth, as output in the UK’s construction sector is expected to accelerate in 2014. The company has a market cap of £4 billion and trades at 16 times earnings.

London Stock Exchange Group

LSE GroupThe London Stock Exchange Group (LSE: LSE) which operates a range of international equity, bonds and derivatives markets, recently enjoyed a strong final quarter, as total income for the three months ended December 31st rose nearly 50% to £309 million. The performance was buoyed by a surge of new flotations last year, which is a trend likely to continue in 2014, as retailers in particular want to take advantage of rising consumer spending.

The share price peaked during early trade this morning at 1,909p having risen by 650p over the last 12 months.

While short term gains can play their part in helping you become wealthy, at the core of every portfolio should be companies that have healthy balance sheets, dominant market positions and reliable cash flows.

Five companies that fit the bill are identified in this Motley Fool special report. They may hold the key to the financial freedom you dream of. 

The report is only available for a limited time. Don't delay! Simply click here for your FREE copy.

> Mark does not own any share mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Smith & Nephew.