3 FTSE 100 Shares Hitting New Highs

LONDON -- After a dreary week, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE  ) regained some of its earlier losses today, ending the trading session up 0.28% to 18 pence. But in a week that has seen fresh eurozone fears after a strong anti-austerity vote in the Italian election, the FTSE ending the week over 6,300 won't be a bad result.

If the FTSE 100 has yet to regain the 6,421-point record it set earlier this month, the same can't be said for many of its constituents. Here are three that are reaching new highs.

Diageo (LSE: DGE  ) (NYSE: DEO  )
Shares in drinks giant Diageo closed on a new high of 1,980 pence yesterday, though they fell a bit to 1,972 pence today. The price is now up about 30% over the past 12 months, which is quite an achievement for a 50 billion pound blue-chip company. And over the longer term it's even better than that, with a steady 2.8-fold gain since a 733 pence low in 2009.

That's been possible due to Diageo's steady growth in earnings per share and dividends, right through the recession -- booze seems to be a sorrow-drowning defensive investment during hard times. The year to June is forecast to bring about 10% in earnings growth with a dividend yield of about 2.5% from shares on a P/E of 19.

Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN  )
Banks are on the up, with Standard Chartered setting a new 52-week record close yesterday of 1,796 pence -- they closed today down to 1,781. Standard Chartered remained healthy throughout the crisis, increasing earnings per share every year with the exception of a fall in 2009, largely due to the bank's exposure to Asian markets which escaped the U.S. subprime crisis and the European crunch.

There's a further rise in earnings expected for the year ending December 2012, with the shares on a forward P/E of about 12 and a dividend yield of about 3% expected.

British Sky Broadcasting (LSE: SKY  )
British Sky Broadcasting shares also reached a new record close yesterday, hitting 850.5 pence for a total 12-month gain of 26%. Forecasts for the year to June 2013 put the shares on a forward P/E of about 15, which might seem unduly average for a company that has increased its earnings per share for four straight years, with two further years of growth forecast.

Dividends have been rising steadily as well, with a hike of more than 10% forecast for 2013. That should provide a yield of 3.5%, and though it's not one of the biggest in the FTSE 100, it should be twice covered, and many income investors will value its dependability.

Dividends can add nicely to your investment returns -- they can be spent or reinvested according to your needs. Whether you're investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome. And that's why I recommend the brand-new Fool report "The Motley Fool's Top Income Share For 2013," in which our top analysts identify a share that they believe will provide handsome dividend income for years to come. But it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.

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