After January's dramatic rise, the FTSE 100 settled into a steadier month in February, gaining 85 points to reach 6,361. The index of the UK's biggest companies did pop its head over the 6,400 parapet on 29 February, but it has yet to close above that level.
A number of the FTSE 100's constituents have soundly beaten the average during February, and some of them will surely go on to even better things. Here are five that have risen, and which might still be good value:
Legal & General
The insurance sector has been making a bit of a comeback, and Legal & General Group (LSE: LGEN) has done well along with the rest of it. The shares gained a relatively modest 8p (5.3%) during February to reach 160p, but that adds up to a rise of more than 30% over the past 12 months.
Full-year results are due next week, and they look like they should be good. The City is forecasting a 13% rise in earnings per share, and that puts the shares on a relatively modest price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 11. There's also a dividend yield of 4.7% expected, topping two previous years of dividend rises, and it's likely to be around twice covered. There could still be more to come from the shares.
Shares in Rolls-Royce Holdings (LSE: RR) climbed 82p (8.7%) to 1,028p, taking them up more than 25% over the past 12 months. Full-year results released on 14 February showed revenue up 8% to £12.2 billion, pre-tax profit up 24% to £1.4 billion, and earnings per share up 22% to 59.27p. That resulted in an 11% dividend lift to 19.5p per share.
Since then, Rolls-Royce has announced a new $40 million contract to provide "equipment and related services to power the flow of natural gas through the Uzbekistan section of the Turkmenistan-China natural gas pipeline".
Forecasts for 2013 put the shares on a P/E of 15.5, which is not high for a quality company, and there's a further dividend hike expected, to yield 2.1%.
ISAs, SIPPs, stockbroking... it's all added up to a great month for Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE: HL), whose share price powered up a whopping 176p (25%) to 867p in February -- and that's on top of a strong year that has seen the price nearly double.
On 6 February, first-half results showed record revenue of £140 million, up 24%, with pre-tax profit up 30% to a record £93.7 million. The firm now has £30.4 billion in assets under administration -- and yes, that's also a new record.
Forecasts for the full year suggest a 25% rise in earnings per share, but that does put the shares on a prospective P/E of 28, which is about twice the long-term FTSE average -- many will see that as a bit pricey.
ITV (LSE: ITV) shares had a good February, rising 9.5p (8.2%) to 124p. In addition, you would have had become eligible for a final dividend of 1.8p per share (for a full-year total of 2.6p, and a yield of 2%), plus a special dividend of 4p per share, after the broadcaster revealed 2012 results on Wednesday.
While some companies dependent on traditional advertising revenues have struggled, ITV's mix of TV with digital, online and interactive media is reaping rewards. Even with the shares having gained 45% over the past 12 months, 2012 earnings per share put them on a P/E of 13, and forecasts for 2013 and 2014 drop that ratio to 12 and 11 respectively.
Shares in aerospace and defence engineer BAE Systems (LSE: BA) gained a modest 15p (4.4%) to 355p during February, so why am I including the company here? Well, in addition to BAE being a constituent of the Fool's Beginners' Portfolio, that rise is still a decent one-month performance. And there is also a final dividend of 11.7p per share to be added, announced with full-year results on 21 February, making a full-year payout of 19.5p per share for a 5.7% yield.
Although 2012 operating profit fell 6% to £1.9 billion, underlying earnings per share of 38.9p puts the shares on a P/E of only 9.1, and that falls to 8.3 based on forecasts for 2013 -- the company told us it anticipates modest growth this year.
Finally, all of these companies pay dividends, and that can make a huge difference to the long-term value of a portfolio. Whether you take the income to live on or reinvest it in more shares, there's nothing wrong with good old cash, whatever your strategy.
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