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3 FTSE Shares Hitting New Highs

By Alan Oscroft - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:42PM

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Centrica, Dixons Retail, and Barratt Developments set new records.

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) doesn't look like it's going to reclaim its five-year high of 6,534 set on March 12 anytime soon after fresh Chinese fears sent it down 0.64% to 6,344 points today. Not that China is in any real trouble, mind -- its economy just grew a little slower than expected in the first quarter.

But even if the FTSE is off its highs, there are plenty of shares that are reaching new levels. Here are three achieving that feat today.

Centrica
After Centrica reported the acquisition of some Canadian natural-gas fields today, its shares rose to hit a 52-week high of 385 pence during the morning before dropping back to close at 382. That puts the price up about 18% over the past 12 months, which is pretty good for an investment that is also forecast to deliver a dividend yield of 4.6% for the year to December. Like its competitors in the utilities business, Centrica has been rewarding investors with regular dividends for years, and its predictable business enables it to pay out a high proportion of its earnings.

Dixons Retail (LSE: DXNS)
The recovery at Dixons Retail is still going strong, with the share price reaching a new 12-month high of 36 pence today before slipping back to close at 35.4 pence. The Dixons price has more than doubled over the past year, taking it to a forward price-to-earnings ratio of nearly 30 based on April 2013 estimates. But we really are only at the start of the profit recovery, and 2014 forecasts take that multiple down to 16.

Barratt Developments (BDEV -0.59%)
The homebuilding sector has also been recovering strongly, as evidenced by shares in Barratt Developments closing last Friday on a new 12-month record of 286.8 pence. And the price is higher than that this afternoon, having reached 287.8 pence.

Over the year, Barratt has provided the highest rise of today's three, gaining about 115%. The shares are currently on a prospective P/E of 20 for June 2013, but we do have further strong forecasts ahead.

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