LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) is perking up a bit today, rising 0.32% to 6,346 by 8:20 a.m. EST as fears raised by the Italian election stalemate seem to be fading. After Tuesday's 85-point slump, the index of top U.K. shares has recovered almost all of that loss after a strong closing session on Wednesday resulted in a gain of 56 points.
If the FTSE 100 is still off from its recent high of 6,412 points, the same can't be said of some of its major constituents. Here are three setting new records today.
HSBC (LSE:HSBA) (NYSE:HSBC)
Shares in high-street bank HSBC Holdings hit a new 52-week high of 739.9 pence today ahead of full-year results due to be released on Monday. HSBC has come out of the crisis pretty well, and though there's a 5% to 10% fall in earnings per share expected, we should still see a dividend yield in excess of 3.5%.
Forecasts put the shares on a price-to-earnings ratio of 13, and with future earnings growth very likely, that looks set to fall to around 10 by 2014 -- and the dividend yield is forecast to rise to nearly 5% over the same period.
Yet another new high for ARM Holdings shares? Yes indeed, as the price broke its previous 52-week closing high to reach 959.5 pence this morning.
That takes the chip designer's shares up more than 60% over the past few years, putting them on a forward P/E of 50 based on forecast 2013 earnings. That looks pretty high on the face of it, but who can tell where the demand for ARM chip designs will end?
Industrial engineer IMI saw its share price set a new record today, too, reaching 1,223 pence in early trading before dropping back a bit to 1,215 pence. We've had steadily rising dividends from IMI for a few years, and that looks set to continue for the next couple of years, with a 2.7% yield expected for December 2012.
The firm's last interim update, in November, told us that things were in line with expectations, with revenue 4% ahead for the 10 months to date. Full-year results are due on March 7.
Dividends can add nicely to your investment returns -- they can be spent or reinvested, according to your needs. Whether you're investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome. And that's why I recommend the brand-new Fool report "The Motley Fool's Top Income Share For 2013," in which our top analysts identify a share that they believe will provide handsome dividend income for years to come. But it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.