LONDON -- With the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) down another 110 points, or 1.72%, by 9:40 a.m. EDT, we're a long way from the index's recent 13-year high. It might be less than three weeks since that 6,876 peak was scaled, but since then we've seen a fall of 585 points, or 8.5%. Fears of an imminent scaling-back of economic-stimulus measures have played a large part in the recent slide.
But share price records are still broken every day, at least for individual companies. Here are two from the FTSE 100 and one that would be big enough for the top index if it weren't on the Alternative Investment Market.
By mid-2011, AIM-traded online fashion-purveyor ASOS had soared to a valuation of around £25 per share, which many at the time thought unsustainable -- and the price promptly slid to less than half that by the end of the year.
But since then ASOS has been resurgent, and this month the price topped £40 per share. In fact, ASOS hit an all-time high of £41.70 yesterday, though today it's down a bit to £40.28. The group's market cap now exceeds £3 billion -- enough to put the share in the FTSE 100.
Many are once again are thinking the price is unsustainable, and with forecasts putting the shares on a P/E of 85, that's perhaps understandable. There is a 60% rise in earnings expected this year, but it would take a few years of that to get the P/E down to the FTSE 100 average of about 14.
ITV shareholders have been having a good time, too, with the price up about 130% over the past 12 months and reaching a new 52-week high yesterday of 136.4 pence before dropping back a little to 131.9 pence today. The broadcaster's advertising revenue fell during the depths of the crisis, but we've since seen a few years of rising earnings and a return to dividends.
The year to December 2013 is forecast to bring in a 10% rise in EPS and a 40% dividend boost to yield almost 3% -- and for 2014 the City is expecting to see a yield of 3.2%.
Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q and Screwfix, is perhaps not the kind of share that you would expect to gallop, as home improvement isn't that exciting a sector in these tough days.
But this stock is up about 25% over the past 12 months, and it reached a 52-week high of 355.2 pence yesterday -- by early afternoon today the shares are changing hands for 342 pence. Forward fundamentals appear reasonable, with a forecast P/E of 15 for the year to January 2014, and we're looking at a predicted 2.9% dividend yield.
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