3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs This Week

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is slowly turning back toward the year high of 5,966 it hit in March, reaching 5,678 in morning trading today, as the latest eurozone panic over Spain's banks and over Spanish and Italian government debt costs seems to be subsiding. But it's still anybody's guess whether the index of the U.K.'s biggest companies will first gain a new high or will head down below last October's 4,944 low point.

Whichever way it goes, individual shares in the FTSE indexes are reaching new highs every day. Here are three that have just achieved that feat:

(ISE: DGE.L) , the giant behind Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, and many more global drinks brands, has had a cracking year. It has just reached a new 52-week high, hitting 1,728 pence for a gain of 40% over the past 12 months.

That would be a great gain for any company, but this is the eighth biggest member of the FTSE 100, with a market cap of 43 billion pounds.

Dividends are modest at around 3%, but we still have a couple of years of rising earnings forecast.

(ISE: DEB.L) has done it again, powering on up to a new high of 94.3 pence, again taking it up around 40% over 12 months. What's remarkable here is that Debenhams is an operator on our supposedly sick high street, where cash-strapped people are allegedly not spending money due to current tough economic conditions.

But earnings are growing and we're seeing a return to dividends -- there's a forecast yield of 3.3% for this year, growing to 3.7% next year, from shares on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of only around 10. We might even be excused for thinking there's a retail sector recovery going on.

J. Sainsbury
Supermarkets have been out of the news of late, but J. Sainsbury (ISE: SBRY.L) has just hit a new 52-week high of 324.6 pence, putting it 6% up on the year so far. That might not sound like much, but for a supermarket on a forecast dividend yield of 5.2% for the next two years, it's a pretty nice gain.

In fact, that high yield suggests there could be more share price appreciation to come, to get back closer to a long-term yield of 3.5% to 4%.

Even Tesco (ISE: TSCO.L) shares look to be coming off their bottom, though they are a long way from a year high. At 318.5 pence, they're up 7% since May's low of 297 pence. The rot that set in with disappointing Christmas trading could well be reversing.

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Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Tesco. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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