3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs


LONDON -- It's another down day for the FTSE 100 today, with the U.K.'s top-tier index falling 0.73% to 6,253 points as of 8:15 a.m. EDT. Fears seem to be spreading round the world these days, with a big drop in Japan's Nikkei index preceding today's FTSE fall.

With the U.K.'s biggest shares largely on a downer, we have to turn to smaller-cap companies to look for new record share prices. Here are three that are breaking new ground.

In late 2011, Mothercare was looking pretty bad, but since then a recovery plan at the mothers-and-babies retailer has led to a tripling of the share price. And today the price hit a 52-week record of 387.4 pence.

The company still recorded a statutory pre-tax loss of £21.5 million for the year to March 2013, but once adjusted for exceptional items, that turned into an underlying profit of £8.3 million, with underlying earnings per share of 6.2 pence. For the coming year, the City is forecasting a pre-tax profit of about £14 million, and we might even have a return to dividends.

Hilton Food
Hilton Food Group has also had a good year, with the shares up nearly 40% to a 52-week high of 362.8 pence today -- almost all of that gain having come since the start of 2013. Results for the year ending December 2012 showed flat earnings, but the firm paid a twice-covered dividend of 12 pence per share to yield 4.5%.

Forecasts for 2013 suggest a 6% rise in earnings, and there's also a 7% rise in the dividend on the cards -- though with the strong share-price rise, the yield should fall to around 3.7%. As of Hilton's May 15 update, things are going in line with expectations.

Young & Co
I'm always pleased to see brewers and pub operators doing well, and that includes Young & Co's Brewery, which has brought home a 35% share price rise over the past 12 months to hit a new high of 835 pence today.

Young reported an 8.2% rise in revenue in May, for the year to April 1 and turned that into a 13% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to £24.1 million. Adjusted EPS also rose by 13% to 37.77 pence, and the firm paid a dividend of 14.63 pence per share for a modest 2% yield.

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