LONDON -- Just as the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^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 (LSE:NG) (NYSE:NGG)
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 (LSE:MKS)
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 (LSE:SMWH)
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.
Finally, 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.
Alan Oscroft has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends National Grid (ADR). 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.