3 FTSE Shares Hitting New 2012 Highs

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is slowly recovering from last week's fall, which owed to fresh eurozone panic. As of 8:30 a.m. EDT, the index sits at 5,835 points, up 15 points for the day. That's a 4.6% gain since the start of 2012, which is really quite a decent return.

But there are plenty of individual companies in the various indexes that have had a much better year to date than that. Here are three pushing new 2012 highs.

Pace (ISE: PIC.L)
Digital TV technologist Pace has had a cracking year so far, with its shares having more than doubled to 170 pence from their 72 pence level at the start of 2012. The world's largest set-top box maker has had a tough couple of years, falling from around 240 pence in 2009 after inventory concerns and natural disasters in Asia hurt its business.

But July brought us welcome news of the interim stage, and though income was down, a positive outlook for the second half helped boost the shares. Forecasters are expecting an earnings fall of around 7% for the full year, with growth of more than 20% predicted to return by 2013. And with the shares on a prospective 2013 price-to-earnings ratio of only eight, they could still be cheap.

Student accommodation provider UNITE Group has also had a cracking year, and at 266 pence the shares are up 58% so far this year. The company's first half to June 30 brought a doubling of profits to 14 million pounds over the prior-year period's 7 million, and full-year forecasts have us expecting earnings of 9.95 pence per share.

That puts the shares on a P/E of 26, but Unite is a property company, too, and at the interim stage its diluted net asset value per share was estimated at 335 pence, so there appears to be value there on that measure.

Workspace Group (ISE: WKP.L)
Also related to the recovering property sector, Workspace Group is up 23%, having gained 51 pence since the start of the year to reach 271 pence today. Workspace, which invests in commercial property to let in London and operates as a real-estate investment trust, has unsurprisingly been in a bit of a slump, but its share price started to take off in May this year in anticipation of full-year results, which turned out strong.

Forecasts for 2013 put the shares on a P/E of 22, but there's a 3.6% dividend expected, and NAV at the results stage hit 308 pence per share.

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