LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) didn't set any records this week, coming off five days of losses and closing yesterday below 6,400 for the first time in 12 days. But at least the index of top U.K. shares recovered a bit today to end the week at 6,393.
But some individual FTSE 100 companies are still soaring to new heights. Here are three records broken today.
AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN )
AstraZeneca shares have been responding well to the firm's new return-to-growth strategy, rising a further 3.3% today to reach a 52-week high of 3,236 pence. That follows a similar rise yesterday, taking the price up 6% since the announcement. And although the shares have been pretty erratic all year, they're now 14% up over the past 12 months.
There's still a fall in earnings per share forecast for the year to December 2013, but that values the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of nine, which seems pretty low. And if dividend forecasts come good, we should see a twice-covered 5.8% yield.
National Grid (LSE: NG )
Utilities companies may not be the first that spring to mind when we think about soaring share prices, but National Grid shares hit a new 52-week high today of 756.5 pence, taking them up around 18% over the past 12 months. A good chunk of that has come in the past few weeks: The price is up 11% since the middle of February.
The attraction, of course, is the firm's steady dividends, which are among the best and most reliable in the FTSE 100. For the year to March 2012, shareholders enjoyed a 6.2% yield. And though the rising share price has brought it down, this year's yield still looks like it'll be around 5.6%.
Reckitt Benckiser (LSE: RB )
Reckitt Benckiser Group is another perhaps unlikely sounding highflier, concerning itself with relatively mundane everyday household goods. But it's also on the up, setting a new 52-week record price today of 4,756 pence per share. And that makes for a pretty stunning 12-month rise of 34%.
Full-year forecasts do put the shares on a P/E of 18, with only a relatively modest dividend yield of 3% expected, and many will see that as a bit too highly valued.
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