LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is still not close to regaining its recent high of 5,989 points, hovering as it is at around 5,754 points, 23 points down on the day. Uncertainty over the global economy and the demand for resources seems to be pushing miners and financials up one day and down the next.
But whatever the index of top U.K. shares is doing, individual companies are hitting new highs every day. Here are three poking holes in the clouds this week.
British Sky Broadcasting (ISE: BSY.L) hit a new 52-week high this week of 775 pence. It currently stands a few pence down from that on 760 pence, which is 24% up on the share price's low point of 614 pence almost exactly a year ago.
Much of that was driven by July's strong annual results, which showed a 16% rise in operating profit and a 21% boost to earnings per share, from revenues that were 3% up on the previous year. The dividend was lifted by 9% to 25.4 pence per share. Current forecasts suggest a payout of 3.6% next year, with the shares on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of about 13.5.
Debenhams (ISE: DEB.L) shares are still hovering around their 52-week peak of 96.5 pence, just a couple of pence down on 94.2 pence, after a remarkable year that has seen shares in the department store gain more than 60%.
It all fits in with the start of a recovery in the retail sector, after a downturn that took the good down with the bad -- at their low point of 50 pence, Debenhams shares were horribly undervalued. And now, even after such a great performance this year, forecasts still suggest a decent dividend yield of 3.2% this year and 3.6% next, from shares on a P/E of around 10.
Support services and construction group Interserve (ISE: IRV.L) saw its shares shoot up after the release of interim results on Aug. 15, and they went onto reach a new high of 355 pence this Monday, dropping back just a fraction to 351 pence at the time of writing. The results showed an 8.3% rise in pre-tax profit to 30.1 million pounds, and the dividend was hiked 6.7% to 6.4 pence per share.
But what really pleased investors was the firm's announcement that it already has 1.1 billion pounds of work on its books for 2013, with a total future workload of 6.0 billion pounds lined up. Pre-results forecasts were indicating a full year dividend of 5.6%, rising to 5.8% next year, and things can surely only look better now.
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