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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs

By Alan Oscroft - Apr 12, 2013 at 2:02PM

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National Grid, Marks & Spencer, and WH Smith set new records.

LONDON -- Just as the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) was looking like it might end the week on a rise, Friday came along and knocked it back 0.49% to 6,384 points. Still, the index's five-year high of 6,534 points was only set on March 12, and it's a long way away from its 52-week low of 5,230.

But if the FTSE isn't setting new records, there are plenty of individual companies that are. Here are three.

National Grid (NG 0.29%) (NGG 0.34%)
National Grid shares powered up to a new 52-week high today of 792.5 pence. The price has been soaring of late, climbing 16% since the middle of February and about 23% over the past 12 months. That would be good even for a small-cap growth share, but National Grid is a 29 billion pound FTSE 100 behemoth that's also one of the most reliable dividend payers in the market. For the year ending March 2012, the company provided a yield of 6.2% (based on the share price at the time), and for this year there's a 5.3% yield expected.

Marks & Spencer (MKS 2.47%)
This week's news of the best-ever Easter trading week for Marks & Spencer Group has sent the shares sharply upward, and yesterday the price ended on a new 12-month closing high of 400.4 pence. The share price still has some way to go before properly rewarding shareholders, as it's been treading water for the past few years, but this news does suggest that the turnaround plan is working. And M&S has still been paying dividends throughout: There's a yield of about 4.5% expected for the year just ended. Results are due on May 21.

WH Smith (SMWH 1.84%)
Our third today is another well-known High Street name: WH Smith, whose shares closed on a new 52-week high of 793.5 pence yesterday, though they slipped back today to 784.5 pence. The shares are now up more than 45% over the past 12 months. The reason behind the latest boost is the firm's interim results, published yesterday, which told us of a 5% rise in pre-tax profit to 69 million pounds and a 13% boost to the interim dividend to 9.4 pence per share.

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Stocks Mentioned

National Grid plc Stock Quote
National Grid plc
$1,210.50 (0.29%) $3.50
Marks and Spencer Group plc Stock Quote
Marks and Spencer Group plc
$136.90 (2.47%) $3.30
WH Smith PLC Stock Quote
WH Smith PLC
$1,520.00 (1.84%) $27.50
National Grid plc Stock Quote
National Grid plc
$76.21 (0.34%) $0.26

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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