LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) is looking a bit more positive today following a number of upbeat company results, climbing 0.81% to 6,397 points by 7:40 a.m. EST. The index of top U.K. shares has even peeked above the 6,400 level today, so its 52-week high of 6,412 is under threat again.
But what of individual companies setting new share-price records? Here are three doing just that today.
Shares in WPP reached a 52-week record of 1,091 pence this morning, following on from last week's record results. Despite economic difficulties in the U.S., Europe, and China, the advertising giant enjoyed a 3.5% rise in revenue after other regions, including the Middle East, proved robust.
WPP shares are now up more than 30% over the past 12 months and have more than three-bagged since early 2009. But at 13.6, the firm's forward price-to-earnings ratio is still only around the FTSE's long-term average. Forecasts for 2013 suggest modest earnings growth with a 3% dividend.
GKN shares have made a similar gain over the past year, also putting on more than 30% to reach a new 52-week high today of 286 pence. And again, the latest boost came from strong results last week. The automotive and aerospace parts maker reported sales up 13%, adjusted pre-tax profit up 19%, and earnings per share up 17%. The dividend was raised by 20%.
And GKN shares might still be a bargain, with forecasts for this year putting them on a P/E of only 10, dropping to nine for 2014, with dividends of 3% and 3.4%, respectively.
Shares in online fashion retailer ASOS are flying again, reaching an all-time record of 29.15 pounds today -- easily beating the 24 pound levels the shares were at in mid-2011 before the wheels temporarily came off.
International expansion has been going well, and ASOS looks set to dominate the world of online clothing sales. But after such a meteoric price rise, the shares are now on a forward P/E of nearly 60, so there will have to be a further quadrupling in earnings to bring that down around the FTSE average.
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 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.
Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.