LONDON -- We've had four straight days of rises for the FTSE 100, taking it to new five-year high of 6,579 points today -- though by midday the index of the U.K.'s biggest companies is back a few points from that on 6,572, up 15 points on the day so far. The recent rise takes the FTSE just over its earlier five-year high of 6,534 set on March 12.
Along with that, of course, there are individual companies whose shares are soaring. Here are three from the various indices reaching new highs:
British American Tobacco
It's products might be bad for your health, but there's no doubt their desirability is good for shareholders of British American Tobacco (LSE:BATS) (NYSE:BTI). The share price has soared to a new 52-week high today of 3,665 pence -- currently a little down from that on 3,655 pence.
If you want a combination of share price growth and income, British American has delivered it in spades -- we've had more than a decade of price growth, and recent years have brought steadily rising dividends. For this year, the City is expecting a 10% rise in earnings and a dividend yield of around 4%, with the shares on a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 16. When will the deadly weed lose its allure? Apparently, not yet.
Shares in chip designer ARM Holdings (LSE:ARM) can't stop soaring, it seems, having hit another new high of 1,061 pence today before falling back a few pennies to 1,057 pence. Even on top of several years of strong growth, the share price has more than doubled over the past 12 months. But it's a sobering thought that ARM's share price has only recently beaten its old highs from the madness of the dot com boom.
ARM shares are still on a pretty lofty rating, mind, with current forecasts putting them on a P/E of more than 50 -- we'd need more than a threefold rise in earnings to bring that down near the long-term FTSE average of 14.
Turning to a small-cap company, video technologist Blinkx (LSE:RTHM) has seen its share price soar by 125% over the past 12 months, reaching a new 52-week high of 105.5 pence today. That gives us a nice 185% gain for the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio, after we added Blinkx at 36.9 pence per share during last July's dip.
Blinkx shares are currently on a forward P/E of 35 based on the latest City expectations, but with earnings predicted to rise by nearly 25% this year and by around a third for each of the following two years, forecasts for March 2015 bring that rating down to 20. Full-year results should be with us on Monday, after last month's update predicted profits ahead of expectations.
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