LONDON -- It seems such a long time since the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) hit its year high of 5,966 in March, and if the eurozone crisis gets any worse (which it surely will), we could be looking at a new challenge to last October's 4,944 low.
But regardless of that, we're seeing shares in the FTSE indexes reaching new highs every day. Here are three that achieved that feat this week.
United Utilities (LSE: UU.L )
United Utilities shares reached a new 52-week high of 698 pence on Thursday, crowning a year that has seen the price soar by 16.5%. In fact, the shares have barely looked back since pulling out of the depths of the 2009 slump, which saw them down at 434 pence.
That's a pretty decent performance by any standard, but it's especially good when we realize that United Utilities is a dividend share, paying a steady yield of around 5% per year. Who says you can't have good dividends and a strong share price rise at the same time?
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Bloomsbury (LSE: BMY.L )
After sliding to a tough first half of the year, Bloomsbury Publishing shares have stormed back since January and hit a 52-week high of 133 pence on Thursday, turning round a long-term decline.
The earlier fall from grace owed to the ending of the Harry Potter saga, but there's more to the company than a child wizard. In fact, post-Hogwarts forecasts are looking good, with two years of 4.5% dividends expected from shares on a modest price-to-earnings ratio of about 10. Could we be looking at another potential mix of price appreciation and dividends? I think we could.
Pace (LSE: PIC.L )
Pace is another company that has recovered impressively this year, rising from a low of 44 pence in November to a 52-week high of 136 pence on Tuesday.
Despite the flooding disaster in Thailand, which restricted supplies of the hard disks Pace needs for its pay-TV devices and led to a 15% drop in first-half revenue, the company announced a 15% interim dividend hike this week and lifted its guidance for the full year.
While the expected dividend yield is still only around 2%, the shares are on a forward P/E of only about eight for 2013, falling to less than seven on 2014 forecasts.
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