LONDON -- In a shock turn of events, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) did not reach a new record today! However, the U.K.'s top index did close above 6,400 points for the seventh time in a row, finishing the day down 0.45% to 6,481.5.
But what of individual companies reaching new levels? Here are three that scraped the sky today.
Rolls-Royce (LSE:RR) (OTC:RYCEY)
Aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce Holdings shares continued their recent strong run by hitting a new 52-week high of 1,072 pence, though they finished the day up 1% to 1,063 pence. That adds up to a welcome rise of 27% over the past 12 months and makes the stock a four-bagger for those fortunate enough to have bought at 2009's low point.
The P/E for 2013 perhaps looks a bit high at 16, based on current consensus forecasts. But it's only a little above the long-term FTSE average, and it does fall to less than 15 based on 2014 estimates. And Rolls-Royce is one of those quality companies that provide steady earnings and a growing dividend.
Shares in advertising giant WPP have been on a steady climb since the middle of November and have gained 35% in the four months since, reaching 1,089 pence today before falling back to close at 1,080 pence.
The year to December brought a 9% rise in earnings and a 16% boost to the dividend, and there's a further 12% dividend rise forecast for 2013. The City expects a payout of 32 pence per share for a yield of 2.9%, well covered by earnings per share of 80 pence.
Record prices are not really what Ocado shareholders are accustomed to, but every share has to reach a 52-week high at least once a year. For Ocado, that was yesterday, as the shares attained a closing high of 142.6 pence. Today the price fell a little to 137 pence. Ocado is still far from its original flotation price of 180 pence, but the shares have now more than doubled since their low of 56 pence set in November.
February's results helped when the online grocery business reported a 2 million pound pre-tax profit after analysts had been expecting a small loss for the year.
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