For most of the day today, it was looking like the FTSE 100 was not going to hit a new 52-week high, dropping below yesterday's close and then recovering to hover around the 6,300 mark. But late in the day it hit that new high, rising to 6,314 points, up 20 on the day. It looks as if today could well be the day the index of top UK stocks closes above 6,300 this year.
With the index reaching new heights, so too are many individual companies. Here are three constituents of the various FTSE indices attaining new levels today:
Rightmove (LSE: RMV), owner of the property website of the same name, has had a pretty good year. Interim results back in August were pretty good, but the shares languished from then until a recent strong run has taken them to a 52-week high today of 1,704p, up 19p on the day.
November's interim statement for the period to 31 October told us of further strong performance, and current estimates for the year to December suggest a 19% rise in earnings per share. Rightmove shares are currently priced for growth, on a price-to-earning (P/E) ratio of nearly 30, but forecasts for the next two years are strong. And the dividend, though a low 1.3% right now, looks set to rise.
Shares in Lookers (LSE: LOOK) are also on a 52-week high, standing at 80.5p at the time of writing, and up more than 55% over the past 12 months. After a rough time during the recession, the motor trade looks to be heading for better times, with Lookers' October interim update telling us that new car sales were up 4%, with retail sales up 9% -- the fleet market was still flat.
Full-year expectations for Lookers put the shares on a pretty undemanding P/E of 11.5, with a dividend yield of 3.1% expected. Modest, but encouraging, growth forecasts for the next two years make this a share that must be worth a closer look.
Costain (LSE: COST) shares are on a high, standing at 265p as I write, up around 35% over the past year. The engineering and construction group put in an upbeat pre-close trading update on 4 January, ahead of full-year results due on 6 March.
The company finished the year "in line with the Board's expectations", with an order book standing at £2.4 billion (hardly changed from £2.5 billion a year ago). Over 90% of that is repeat orders, which is the kind of thing I like to see. On a P/E for the full year of just 8 and with a dividend yield of 4% expected, are Costain shares cheap? That's for you to decide, but they certainly don't look expensive to me.
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