3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs Today


LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) reversed its recent decline today, rising 31 points to 5,689 by midday. The index of blue-chip shares has been pulled in various directions ahead of today's European Central Bank meeting, with hopes that president Mario Draghi will make sufficient moves to save the euro being offset by fears that he won't.

But that's not holding back our highflying companies, and we take a look at three hitting new 52-week highs today.

Dixons (ISE: DXNS.L)
Dixons Retail has been through a dire spell but has been recovering nicely this year. So far the shares are up about 80% over the past 12 months and hit a new high of 19.6 pence today after the electronics retailer released an upbeat interim management statement for the three months to July.

Total sales were up 2%, with like-for-like sales up 5% over the quarter -- and in the U.K. and Ireland, like-for-like sales rose 7%. Online and other sales are going strongly, too, with multichannel volumes up 39% (48% in the U.K. and Ireland). While there's not much of a dividend in the cards yet, forecasts suggest a 30% rise in earnings for the year to April 2013 and a further 40% the next year.

Whitbread (ISE: WTB.L)
Hotel and restaurant group Whitbread climbed to a high of 2,208 pence by midday on a very strong trading update that told us of an overall 14.8% rise in sales for the three months to August. The biggest boost, 25.3%, came from the company's Costa chain, but all divisions did well.

Whitbread says its growth program is on track, and we have full-year dividends of 2.6% and 2.9% forecast for the years to February 2013 and 2014, respectively. But with the shares on a prospective price-to-earnings ratio of 14, the price seems plenty high enough for now.

Galliford Try (ISE: GFRD.L)
Builder Galliford Try hit a new high today, briefly reaching 657 pence before falling back a little to 652 pence by midday. On Monday the firm told us of a new 28 million pound construction contract awarded to its Scottish division, Morrison Construction, as part of a Moray Council flood defense project. But the shares have been rising anyway as a result of renewed confidence in the building and construction industry.

Even though they're 50% up over the past 12 months, forecasts still put the shares on a prospective dividend of 4.7% for this year, rising to 5.5% for 2013. Results for the year to June are expected on Sept. 19.

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