LONDON — Strong equity markets and an improving economy have seen share prices rise to new highs. Here are some of the companies whose shares have responded best in this new environment.
|Company||Market Cap (million pounds)||Price (pence)||% vs. 52-Week High||1-Yr. Price Change|
|International Consolidated Airlines||5,188||280||(2.5)||97%|
BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP)
In the last three months, the price of Brent crude oil has fallen 7.5%. That hasn’t stopped BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP), however; the shares are up 6% in that time and are 11.5% ahead so far in 2013. The shares have rarely traded higher since the Gulf of Mexico disaster of 2010.
Analysts are forecasting that BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) will make earnings per share of $0.84 this year, rising to $0.93 in 2014. That puts the shares today on a 2013 price-to-earnings ratio of just 8.6 times forecasts, falling to 7.8 times the estimate for next year.
For the full year, analysts expect a dividend increase of around 10%. That puts the shares on a 2013 yield of 5%. Next year, another significant rise is expected, pushing the yield on the shares to 5.4%.
Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG)
It is more than two years since shares in Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG) last traded at around these levels. From a low of 23 pence during the worst of the eurozone crisis, Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG) put in the best performance of any FTSE 100 company in 2012, rising 77% in the calendar year. The shares have continued their strong run this year and are 30% ahead so far in 2013.
Since the financial crisis, some market commentators have speculated that banks’ assets are worth vastly less than their balance sheet value. However, Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG)’s sale last week of a collection of mortgage securities for a 20% premium to their book value significantly undermines the bears’ case.
With the U.K. housing market improving, Lloyds Banking Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:LYG)’s prospects have not looked better in a long time. Last December, brokers were estimating EPS of 3.8 pence for 2013. That figure has been steadily increased to 4.6 pence.