LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) reached yet another closing high today, rising 0.3% to hit a 52-week record of 6,198 points. The index of top U.K. stocks has been above 6,000 for 16 days in a row now and above 6,100 for 10 days. When will I be able to report its run above 6,200? I don't think there will be long to wait now.
Meanwhile, individual companies in the various indexes are reaching new highs of their own every day. Here are three more achieving that feat.
Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF )
Associated British Foods might not sound like the kind of company to go on a speeding bull run, but that's what has happened. The shares are up more than 40% over the past 12 months, reaching a new closing high of 1,646 pence yesterday and putting on another 1.4% today to reach 1,669 pence.
That rise has pushed the shares to a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 17 based on forecasts for the year to September 2013, falling to less than 16 for the following year. But against the FTSE's long-term average of 14 and with a dividend yield of only about 2%, that's too expensive for my blood.
Smith & Nephew (LSE: SN )
Orthopedic prosthesis specialist Smith & Nephew also closed on a new high yesterday, reaching 717 pence, and today it raised the bar to 720 pence. The company, which is also involved in endoscopy and advanced wound-management, has seen its earnings rise steadily over the past few years, and though there is a modest 2% fall expected for the year to December 2012, forecasts pick up again for the following two years.
Smith & Nephew has also been steadily lifting its dividend, and there's a big jump expected for 2012 to take the yield to around 2.2%, with subsequent smaller rises forecast.
Avon Rubber (LSE: AVON )
Our third record-breaker for today is Avon Rubber, whose shares reached a new closing high yesterday of 423 pence. Today they continued their climb to reach 429.5 pence. Avon, which develops respiratory protection systems also supplies polymer-based products to various industries, has seen its shares rise 15-fold since the depths of 2009, so you'd have done well to have bought back then.
But even after that massive gain, the shares are still only on a P/E of 14 based on forecasts for September 2013, falling to 13 for the following year. There's not much in the way of dividends, mind, with a yield of only about 1% expected.
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