LONDON -- The FTSE 100
Meanwhile, individual companies in the various FTSE indexes have been reaching for the sky themselves. Here are three that have hit new 52-week highs today.
Insurance underwriter Beazley
But even after that, forecasts still only put the shares on a prospective price-to-earnings ratio of 8.4 for the full year, with a 4.7% dividend forecast, improving to 8.2 and 5.1% for next year. It's perhaps a risky business, but that does not look like overvaluation.
The most recent surge, which has helped the shares gain 57% over the past 12 months, started on Aug. 1 with a 6.5% jump to 3,427 pence after the firm issued a trading update, lifting its guidance to between 575 million pounds and 620 million pounds in annual profits.
The latest forecasts suggest a dividend of 2.7% this year and 2.9% next year, which makes the shares look high enough to me.
Since then, the shares have gained 22%, but are still only on a modest forecast rating -- a P/E of 9.5 and a dividend yield of 4.5% for this year, with 8.6 and 5.1% penciled in for 2013.
Finally, if you want to find good dividend-paying shares like Beazley and WH Smith, the free Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor," which takes a look at some of ace investor Neil Woodford's major holdings, might be just what you need. Click here to get your free copy, while it's still available.
Further Motley Fool investment opportunities:
Alan Oscroft does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.