LONDON -- It seems a long time since the FTSE 100 was hitting new heights almost daily, but it actually reached a five-year high of 6,534 points as recently as March 12. Fallout from Cyprus has knocked European markets back since then, but the U.K.'s top index is still sticking around the 6,400 mark, at 6,426 points as I write these words.
But even if the FTSE is not breaking records, some of its individual members are. Here are three that are soaring.
Shares in GaxoSmithKline ended on a 52-week closing high yesterday of 1,527 pence, today they're up further to 1,538 pence. Since their lowest finish of 1,317 pence in November, the shares are now up 17%, which is a pretty big gain for the 75 billion pound pharmaceuticals giant.
And even after that, the constituent of the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio is on a forward P/E of only 13 for the year ending December 2013, with a dividend yield of 5.1% forecast. First-quarter results are due on April 24.
Associated British Foods
The highest close of the year from Associated British Foods came on March 14, at 1,902 pence, and the price has beaten that to reach 1,904 pence this morning. The shares are now up more than 50% over the past year, partly because the company's Primark brand is expected to bring in a 23% rise in sales at the halfway stage.
First-half results are due on April 23, with the City expecting an 11% rise in full-year earnings to 96 pence per share and a dividend of about 31.4 pence per share. But after the recent price climb, that puts the shares on a P/E of 19 and drops the dividend yield to just 1.7%.
Shares in publisher and event organizer Reed Elsevier set a 52-week closing high of 782 pence a couple of days ago, and today they have peaked above that by half a penny. That takes the price up nearly 40% over the past 12 months after 2012 full-year results showed a 6% rise in adjusted pre-tax profit to 1.71 billion pounds.
There's a 6% rise in earnings per share forecast for 2013, with a 6.6% rise in the dividend, which would provide a yield of 3.2% on today's price. That's perhaps not the best payout in the market, but the shares are on an average-looking P/E of 14.5.
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