The FTSE 100 (UKX) has dropped back a little from its recent string of 52-week highs, and at 6,095 points at the time of writing is 39 points down from its peak of 6,134 -- but a long way up on its 52-week low of 5,230.
The optimistic start to the year has been tempered by a cut in global economic growth forecasts for this year, from 3% to 2.4%, and by mixed signals coming from Asia. Of late we've heard of improving Chinese forecasts and new stimulus measures from Japan, but counter to that the Yen has been strengthening.
In these buoyant days, it's not surprising that individual shares are reaching new high prices. Here are three that are breaking records:
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (LSE: TW) reached a new closing high of 75p yesterday, taking the price up more than 85% from its 52-week low of 40p set in June last year. That's pretty much the story across the whole of the housebuilding sector, as the business continues its strong recovery.
The price has dropped back a little so today, to 73p at the time of writing. But City analysts are still exhorting us to buy the shares, with three strong years of earnings growth forecast.
Also in the construction business, Howden Joinery (LSE: HWDN) hit a new closing high yesterday as well, of 178.1p, and today it's up slightly on that, standing at 178.6p. The shares are now up around 65% over the past 12 months, having been climbing steadily since the summer.
November's trading update was good, telling us that the firm's strong trading in the first half was continuing, with cash flow better than expected. Forecasts put the shares on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 12 to 13 over the next few years.
Again related to the property market, Quintain Estates & Development (LSE: QED) is the third of our trio to close at a 52-week high yesterday, this time of 58.75p -- the shares are down a penny to 57.75p today.
Quintain develops and maintains commercial real estate in the UK and Channel Islands, and the past year has been a good one for shareholders, with the price up around 55% since the same time last year. Forecasts put the shares on a pretty lofty P/E of more than 40 for the year to March, but there is some impressive earnings growth forecast for the next few years.
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