LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) is falling back from its recent rise, dropping 26 points to 5,896 as of 10:30 a.m. EST to lower it further from its 52-week high of 5,989 points. After the index reached a nine-month high last week before falling back a little on Friday, some will be disappointed. But Fools shouldn't care too much about such daily swings and should instead concentrate on solid, long-term investments.
Speaking of which, some of the U.K.'s best-known companies have been reaching for the sky in recent months. Here are three trading close to their 52-week peaks.
BT Group shares have been having a good time recently, powering up to a 52-week high of 242 pence, and today they're just a shade short of that at 236 pence. That's a rise of more than a quarter over the past 12 months.
Forecasts for this year and next are strong, with a rise in earnings per share rise of more than a third predicted by City analysts, and there's a dividend yield of about 4% on the cards. Despite the rise, the shares are only on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 9.6.
Shares in bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group have had a year that few were expecting, doubling to reach a 52-week high of 47 pence. Although Lloyds, along with Royal Bank of Scotland, suffered massive losses during the crisis, both are expected to turn a profit this year, and both have enjoyed share price recoveries -- RBS is up more than 50%.
Lloyds is, in fact, predicted to turn in a profit of 1.5 billion pounds, rising to 2.6 billion pounds for 2013. That 2013 figure puts the shares on a forward P/E of around 12, so if you think we're in for a few years of rising profits, Lloyds may seem an attractive investment.
Home Retail (NYSE:HOME)
After halting the slump at Argos and starting a promising turnaround, Home Retail has seen its shares respond well, and at 127 pence they're trading very close to their 52-week high of 131 pence.
With the transition of Argos to a multichannel retailer starting off well, forecasts suggest earnings will bottom out in the current year to March, and there's a return to growth penciled in for the following 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. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.