LONDON -- The FTSE 100
And however long it takes for the index of U.K. blue chips to reach a new high, individual members of the various indexes are hitting new levels every day. Here are three that have been doing just that this week.
The bailed-out banks might not be everybody's idea of high-flying shares, but every company has to have a 52-week high at least once a year, and Lloyds TSB achieved that this week, ending yesterday at 39.5 pence before falling back a bit to the current price of 38.4 pence.
That's still far from precrash prices, but the bank could seriously be on the up again. Forecasts for this year aren't terrific, but there's a near-doubling of earnings per share forecast for the year ending December 2013, which would drop the price-to-earnings ratio to 11 based on today's price, and we should be seeing the start of a return to reasonable dividends -- albeit only 1.2% for 2013.
Speaking of financials on the way up, Standard Life hit a new 52-week high today of 278.7 pence for a 50% gain on its year-low of 185 pence set last November. August's interim results pretty much confirmed current expectations with a 15% increase in operating profit.
Those expectations peg the insurance giant for a full-year dividend payout of 5.2% by December, rising to 5.6% next year. We can be sure to expect higher prices than today's before too long.
Sage Group today beat its previous high of 312 pence set in February by reaching the heady heights of 321.9 pence before floating back down to the current price of 315.6 pence. The software company did see its shares slump between those two points, falling to 248 pence in June, but July's interim update confirmed the company was still on to hit full-year expectations.
Those expectations suggest a pretty flat year to September, but we should still see a reasonable dividend of 3.4%, which should be more than adequately covered by earnings. And for 2013, forecasts suggest an 11% rise in earnings and a 3.7% dividend.
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