LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) hasn't moved much this week, and it's less than a point down on the day to 5,791 at the time of writing. But last week's good news from the European Central Bank -- that it is launching a cross-Europe bond-buying program -- has strengthened the index and set it moving back in the direction of its previous 52-week high of 5,989 points.
Individual companies in the various indexes are hitting high points every day. Here are three that are scaling the heights.
BAE Systems (LSE:BA)
BAE Systems is back up to levels not seen since February, having hit the same 333 pence high point again before falling back a couple of pennies to 331 pence. In the interim, the price had been down all the way to 270 pence, so that's a recovery of 23% since the beginning of June and 32% since the share's 52-week low of 251 pence in November.
But even after that rise, the shares are still looking cheap. Forecasts for the year to December suggest a fall in earnings per share of around 10%, but that still puts them on a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.1 and suggests a dividend yield of 5.9% -- and the dividend should be twice covered. Forecasts for 2013 are similar.
Telford Homes (LSE:TEF)
On a day when homebuilder Barratt Developments (LSE:BDEV) fell after releasing interim figures, the much smaller property developer Telford Homes hit a new 52-week high of 134 pence before falling back a little to 129 pence. The firm saw earnings slide last year, and we've had two years of slashed dividends, but the year to March 2012 saw the start of a recovery, and 2013 is expected to see earnings back up to pre-slump levels.
If those expectations come good, we should be looking at a dividend of 3.3% from a share on a P/E of 11, improving to 4.2% and 8.9, respectively, for 2014.
In a related field, construction and civil engineering company Costain Group hit a peak of 251 pence today and is currently just a shade below that at 249 pence. Last month's interim results were strong, showing a 16% rise in underlying operating profit, and that helped the shares to rise 31% from early June and 38% since November's 52-week low. But it's been volatile, with a brief peak approaching today's price in March.
Forecasts look pretty good, and the shares are on a forward P/E of eight with a 4.4% dividend penciled in. The firm has net cash, so there's no debt to worry about.
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