3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs


LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) has been sliding back further from its 52-week high of 5,989 points this week, slipping below the 5,700 mark to sit on 5,693 points at the time of writing. The thing holding it back this week is a sense of foreboding ahead of Thursday's crucial meeting of the European Central bank.

But even if the index of the U.K.'s blue chip shares is slipping back, there are plenty of individual companies in the various indexes that are rising strongly. Here are three that have hit new highs this week.

Telecommunications provider KCOM Group has long been a favorite of mine, and I was pleased to see it hit a new 52-week high of 79.6 pence today. The shares have been up and down this year, slipping back a bit during the summer, but they're now up 18% since their recent low at the beginning of June.

And they're still not expensive, with forecasts putting them on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 10, with an expected dividend yield of 5.7%.

Oxford Instruments (ISE: OXIG.L)
Oxford Instruments has stormed up more than 60% over the past 12 months, and it reached a new year's high of 1,340 pence today. The company, which makes a variety of high-tech electronic tools for various sectors of industry, recorded a 48% rise in earnings per share in its full year to March, and July's interim update told us that sales and profits for the first quarter were ahead of last year.

Forecasts for the full year suggest a 10% rise in EPS, though the dividend isn't worth talking about yet. On a P/E of nearly 20, this is clearly priced as a growth share.

Paragon Group (ISE: PAG.L)
Paragon Group is our third to hit a new high this week, reaching 197 pence yesterday to narrowly beat its previous peak of 195.7 pence set in March. The buy-to-let mortgage lender has had a good year, rising from a low of about 140 pence last October, and has since experienced a somewhat bumpy ride to gain 38% to today.

Forecasts are good too, with the shares on a forward P/E of only 8.6 for the year to September, dropping to 8.1 for next year. The expected dividend is modest at around 2.5%.

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