LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) certainly didn't set any new records today, having closed far down from the five-year high of 6,534 points it set on March 12. The index finished today's trading session down 0.69% to 6,389, with markets still shaken by the crisis in Cyprus.
Yet individual FTSE constituents reach new levels almost daily. Here are three that headed skyward today.
GlaxoSmithKline (LSE:GSK) (NYSE:GSK)
Shares in pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline closed on a 52-week high of 1,518.5 pence yesterday, and today it pushed the ceiling still higher, closing 0.36% up to 1,524. The pharmaceuticals sector is did well as a whole today after rival AstraZeneca announced a new strategy initiative, though that did include appointing former Glaxo rare-diseases head Marc Dunoyer to lead it.
Although Glaxo shares are only up 5% over the past 12 months, the shares are on a forward P/E of a modest 13, and analysts are forecasting a 5.2% dividend yield for the year ending December 2013.
SSE shares reached a new high of 1,488 pence today. The price of the utilities giant is up about 12% from a year ago, and it has been paying steadily rising dividends for years now.
The year to March 2012 brought a payment of 80.1 pence per share for a handsome 6% yield, with the currently forecast 5.3% rise in the 2013 dividend giving a yield of 5.8%. And that's from shares on a forward P/E of only 13. Many would consider that a low price for such reliable income prospects.
We seem to be in a good spell for FTSE 100 giants at the moment, with household-goods manufacturer Unilever shares closing yesterday on a record high for the year of 2,764 pence. The price fell to 2,734 pence today, but that's still a 33% gain over the past 12 months.
After three years of rising earnings and dividends, there's more of the same forecast for this year. But with the shares having soared over the past year, they're on a relatively lofty forward P/E of more than 19, and the prospective dividend yield has dropped to 3.1%.
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Alan Oscroft has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.