LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) shrugged off the U.K.'s loss of its "AAA" credit rating and finished the day up 1% at 6,355 points, having closed last week on 6,291 -- below 6,300 for the first time in eight days. The index of top U.K. stocks has broken the 6,400 level once this year, on Feb. 20, but was unable to hang on to it.
But even if it's been nearly a week since the FSTE 100 last hit a new high, there are individual companies managing it. Here are three that are soaring.
Annual results sent Persimmon shares to a new high of 932 pence in early trading, though the price fell back to 899 pence by the end of trading. Underlying pre-tax profit at the Beginners' Portfolio member rose 52% to 225 million pounds, from a 12% rise in annual revenue to 1.72 billion pounds. Performance was boosted by a 6% rise in legal completions to 9,903 over the year, with an average selling price up 6% to 175,640 pounds.
Persimmon's share price is up around 45% over the past year, as the whole sector is well into recovery -- and there are four other homebuilders reporting this week.
Engineering software specialist AVEVA Group shares climbed to a new 52-week high today of 2,329 pence, after an interim update told us that "the group has continued to perform well during the period with strong cash generation in the third quarter." Business in the oil and gas sector helped strengthen the company's Engineering & Design Systems division, and the company also announced the acquisition of advanced visualization software from Global Majic.
AVEVA's shares are up more than 30% over the past 12 months, with forecasts suggesting an 18% rise in earnings per share for the year ending March 2013. But that does put the price at a lofty price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of over 30.
Insurer Beazley opened at a new high of 219.6 pence today before dropping back a little to 215 pence, and the shares are now up more than 40% over the past 12 months. The insurance sector as a whole has been recovering, and Beazley turning in a pre-tax profit of $250 million in 2012 after 2011's slump certainly helped.
There's a drop in earnings per share of 26% forecast for the year to December 2013, but insurance can be erratic year on year, and even with that fall, the shares are still on a forward P/E of only 10, with a 3.5% dividend yield expected.
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