3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs


LONDON -- The FTSE 100 is being held back a handful of falling companies today as markets across Europe continue to react adversely to the Cyprus bailout. The index of top U.K. stocks is up just 0.2% to 6,391 points as of 10:50 a.m. EDT.

But even if the FTSE is off its highs, there are individual companies setting new records. Here are three that have been soaring.

Shares in BT Group reached a 52-week closing high of 281 pence on Feb. 20, and they came very close to that yesterday, closing at 280.8 pence. And today the price has beaten the record by reaching 281.5 pence in early trading -- though it's down a few pennies from that at the time of writing, so we'll have to wait and see if it ends the day up.

Based on forecasts for the year ending March 31, BT shares are currently on a forward P/E of about 11, which is a little below the long-term FTSE 100 average of 14. The expected dividend, at 3.4%, is a little above the FTSE average.

SSE shares closed on March 21 at 1,488 pence and have today exceeded that 52-week high by reaching 1,489 pence before slipping back to 1,485 pence. The price is up about 10% over the past 12 months, which is pretty good for a FTSE 100 utilities company; they're usually prized for income, rather than growth.

And on income grounds, SSE is looking good. After being offered a dividend yield of 6% for the year to March 2012, shareholders look to be in line for a further 5.7% this year.

TalkTalk Telecom Group shares ended yesterday on a new 52-week closing high of 270.4 pence, and as I write they're up further to 276 pence -- and over the year, the price has soared by more than 80%! At the halfway stage in November, the telecom firm reported a 2.6% rise in earnings per share to 7.8 pence and lifted its interim dividend by a third to 3.45 pence.

For the year to March 31, the City is expecting a 13% fall in EPS but has a quick recovery penciled in for the following year. The forecast dividend suggests a yield of 4%, but it is unlikely to be well-covered.

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