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LONDON -- Just as we thought the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) might possibly break its 52-week high this week, U.S. policymakers aroused fresh fiscal-cliff fears, setting the index of top U.K. stocks back 0.74% to 5,914 as of 9:15 a.m. EST. It seems unlikely that America will actually become insolvent, and my money would be on a last-minute solution being found, but the markets do like to panic over these things.
But if the FTSE isn't going to make it, there are plenty of individual shares that are reaching new records. Here are three that have been soaring this week.
Whitbread (LSE: WTB )
Hotel and restaurant group Whitbread shares reached a new closing high of 2,521 pence yesterday, taking them up nearly 65% over the past 12 months. After a couple of years of rising earnings and a good dividend track record, the company also enjoys decent forecasts for the next two years.
Whitbread shares are perhaps not at a bargain price, but many will see them as a fair value with decent long-term potential.
William Hill (LSE: WMH )
Bookmaker William Hill has had a pretty good year, too, with its shares up more than 80% to 348 pence. And this week, the price has come back just a penny short of October's 52-week highest close of 357.5 pence.
The year to Dec. 31 should bring in a modest rise in earnings and a dividend yield of about 3.5%, and William Hill's Dec. 11 update told us the company is "on track to deliver full-year results in line with expectations."
Thomas Cook (LSE: TCG )
The recovery at Thomas Cook continues at a cracking pace, with the shares powering up again to hit a new 52-week high yesterday of 45.5 pence. The share price has more than tripled over the past 12 months. But perhaps more impressively, the bulk of that has come in the past five weeks or so, with the price more than doubling since the middle of November.
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