LONDON -- After a down week last week, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) is hesitant, and at 5,814 points it's still a way below its 52-week high of 5,989 points. But it could take only a couple of bullish weeks to set a new high.
And I do think that bullishness is returning, with an increasingly varied collection of companies reaching new heights. Today we'll take a quick look at three from very different sectors, all hitting yearly highs.
Sports Direct (LSE: SPD.L )
Sports Direct International has had a great 12 months, reaching a new high of 360.4 pence today before falling back a penny or so to 359.2 pence. That's a gain of 90% since the firm's low point toward the end of 2011.
Recent news includes the release of last month's interim statement telling us of a 25% rise in sales, with profits up around 20%. And on Monday we heard the firm is to buy up some assets and brands belonging to JJB Sports, which is sadly now in administration.
Greencore (LSE: GNC.L )
Greencore Group hit a new 52-week high of 87.75 pence today, taking the shares up 67% since January's low point. The manufacturer and supplier of a range of primary foods went through a slump in recent years, falling to a loss in 2009 before getting back to profits, albeit at a lower level -- and the share price collapsed from the 450 pence levels it commanded prior to 2008.
But with forecasts for better profits this year and next, a dividend of more than 5% expected for this year, and a positive interim update at the end of July ahead of results due in November, we've had a good recovery. And the shares are still only on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of seven.
ITV (LSE: ITV.L )
ITV is back up around peak levels again, touching 91 pence today -- just shy of its 92.25 pence top. That's 65% up on the year's 55 pence low mark and represents quite a turnaround for the TV operator, which crashed as low as 18 pence in 2009.
This year and next have decent but modest dividends forecast, of 2.7% and 3.2%, respectively. And the shares are on a forward P/E of less than 11, which doesn't look high, especially as there is little debt on the books.
Greencore and ITV pay decent dividends, and that can be a good foundation for a long-term portfolio. The Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" looks at the holdings of Neil Woodford, one of the foremost proponents of such an approach. Click here to get your free copy while it's still available.
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