LONDON -- Shock! Horror! The FTSE 100 did not reach a new 52-week high today! But the index of the U.K.'s biggest companies held steady, picking up nine points to finish at 6,117. That's not far short of its recent record of 6,134, set yesterday, and it's a long way from the index's 52-week low of 5,230.
Meanwhile, a number of companies are helping to push various FTSE indexes upward by achieving new highs of their own. Here are three trading at record valuations.
Spirit Pub Company continues its rise, trading around its 52-week high of 68.5 pence -- the price fell back a couple of pennies to 66.5 pence today. Spirit's shares are up about 50% since their low point last summer, with a steady rise since.
Maiden full-year results for Spirit as an independent company in October were good, with pre-tax profit for the business up 16% to 51 million pounds, allowing the company to announce a 1.95 pence full-year dividend. Forecasts for this year put the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of just a little more than 10, with dividend yields in excess of 3% expected.
Oil and gas explorer and producer Soco International has had a great start to the year, with its shares already up 6.7% since the start of January. And the price hit a 52-week high of 387 pence today before dropping back a bit to 382 pence at the time of writing -- that's a rise of 30% over the past 12 months.
The shares are on a P/E of just slightly more than eight based on 2012 expectations, falling to about seven on 2013 forecasts. It's a risky business, but is that valuation too low? That's for you to decide.
The recovery in the homebuilding business is continuing nicely, with AIM-listed Telford Homes touching a new 52-week high today of 211 pence before dropping off a bit to 206 pence. That's a rise of more than 150% over the past 12 months.
Telford, which operates in the East and North of London, has a fall in earnings forecast for the year to March 2013, but an expected 50% rise for 2014 takes its forward P/E for that year down to a modest 11. There are dividend yields of 2% to 3% in the cards.
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