LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) is still holding back from a push to a new high, and at the time of writing it stands at 5,821 -- 168 points down on its most recent 52-week high of 5,989. But in the long term it will keep on going upward, even if that involves booms and busts. Still, it does create opportunities for Fools.
But enough of the index itself. Which individual companies are currently hitting the heights? We look at three.
ASOS (LSE: ASC.L )
If you want a company that has hit more highs and more lows than most, you don't need to look much further than ASOS, the online fashion retailer whose shares are once again pushing new heights. They ended the day at 2,263 pence.
In fact, the latest price is not too far below the all-time ASOS high of 2,460 pence set in July last year at the height of the share-buying mania. Where are they to go now? Is this a sustainable rally, or are we still on the rollercoaster? I'd say no bets are off at this stage.
Barratt (LSE: BDEV.L )
I'm pleased to see Barratt Developments trading up near its 52-week high again, currently on 172 pence and more than twice its price from a year ago, as I've maintained for some time that homebuilders were too cheap. In fact, I added Persimmon to the Beginners' Portfolio in July, and it has done rather well since.
But Barratt has done even better over the past year, and the consensus of City recommendations seems to be a clear "buy." There's a way to go to regain precrash profit levels and decent dividends, and there could well be more growth to come.
Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO.L )
Being a former computer nerd, it also pleases me to see Micro Focus International doing well, as its shares today hit a new 52-week record of 584 pence before falling back a bit to 578 pence. The company, which made its name with its personal-computer implementation of the COBOL language and has gone on to develop well-regarded software development systems, has seen its price soar by 75% this year. And forecasts still have them looking good: We have dividends of about 4% expected from shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of about 11.
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