LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) has been off its highs for the past month, having set a new five-year record of 6,534 points on March 12. In April it even dipped back below the 6,300 level -- but the last couple of days have shown some recovery, with the index of top U.K. stocks climbing back to 6,401 as of 10 a.m. EDT today.
But if the FTSE isn't setting new records, there are plenty of individual companies that are. Here are three.
GlaxoSmithKline (LSE:GSK) (NYSE:GSK)
GlaxoSmithKline just keeps on chugging. It reached yet another 52-week record of 1,563.5 pence today, though it's currently back a bit to 1,558 pence. The shares have had a cracking year so far, already up 16% since the start of the January, which is pretty good going for a 76 billion pound FTSE 100 giant.
But even after that rise, current forecasts still only put the shares on an undemanding forward P/E of 13, with analysts predicting a full-year dividend yield of about 5%. I'm happy to be holding GlaxoSmithKline shares in the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio.
Electricity supplier SSE is flying as well, ending yesterday on a 52-week closing high of 1,535 pence after setting an intraday record of 1,547 pence during the afternoon. The shares are down slightly today to 1,523 pence, but that's still a rise of 15% over the past 12 months -- and it comes on top of a regular annual dividend yield of about 5.5% to 6% per year.
While dividend cover might not be the strongest in the business, analysts seem pretty much unanimous in expecting a payment of about 84 pence for the year to March 31. On today's price, that would represent a yield of 5.5%. Full-year results are due on May 22.
Also a Beginners' Portfolio constituent, homebuilder Persimmon is doing well, rising to a 52-week peak of 1,116 pence this morning before falling back a few pennies to 1,108 pence. This year will see a 75 pence per-share special dividend paid as part of the firm's plan to return cash, but that should be it until a 95 pence payment scheduled for 2015 -- and that averages out to an annual yield of 5.1% on the current price.
We should be getting our next performance update from Persimmon on April 18.
If you're looking for high-performing top-drawer shares that should take you all the way to a comfortable retirement, I recommend the Fool's special new report detailing five blue-chip shares. They'll be familiar names to many, and they've already provided investors with decades of profits. But the report will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your hands on these great ideas -- they could set you on the road to long-term riches.