3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs

LONDON -- After a few days of mild falls, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) turned back up today before settling in all but unchanged from yesterday, up a fraction of a point to 5,805. Today's move seems to be a reaction to the welcome news that the U.K. economy has risen out of recession in the three months to September.

The FTSE 100 is still a bit down from its 52-week high of 5,989 points, but there are members of the various FSTE indexes reaching new highs every day.

Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF.L  )
Associated British Foods has had a great year and is currently approaching a 52-week high again. Today the shares reached 1,374 pence, just a tiny bit below that high point of 1,378 pence, and they're up about 25% over the past 12 months. That's a pretty good rise for an 11 billion pound FTSE 100 company.

As things stand, the City is expecting a full-year dividend of about 2% from shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of about 15, so the undervaluation that has been there for most of the year looks to be mostly out.

Balfour Beatty (LSE: BBY.L  )
Balfour Beatty is similarly trading up near its 52-week high of 316 pence as the construction business continues to enjoy a good recovery. The firm, which provides engineering and construction services, has seen its shares gain nearly 50% from their 52-week low of 214 pence set in November last year.

In this case, forecasts suggest a dividend yield of more than 4.5% with the shares on a low P/E of about 8.5. And the dividend should be more than twice covered.

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Michells & Butlers (LSE: MAB.L  )
The recession hit the booze business quite hard, but Michells & Butlers has been having a cracking year. The shares hit a new 52-week high of 330 pence today, taking them up around 35% over the past 12 months.

The firm's trading update from the end of September suggested a reasonable outlook, and we should hopefully be seeing a return to dividends next year.

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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.


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