LONDON -- The FTSE 100 had another great week. The index of top U.K. stocks broke through the 6,300 barrier to reach a new 52-week high of 6,355 points on Wednesday, before finishing the week a little down from that mark, at 6,347. There was little in the way of economic news during the week, but the general optimistic momentum seems to be continuing. Here are four members of the index that made significant moves this week -- three up, one down.
The former state telecoms monopolist BT Group saw its stock price leap by 11.7 pence (4.6%) to 264.8 pence in a week in which the company revealed third-quarter results. Although revenue is down 7% for the nine months ending Dec. 31, to 13.5 billion pounds, pre-tax profit is up 8% to 1.9 billion pounds, and we see a 9% rise in adjusted earnings per share to 18.4 pence. Full-year expectations remain unchanged. High-speed fiber broadband connections are also going well, with approximately 1.25 million homes and businesses now signed up for the service.
The mining sector has been coming back this week, with BHP Billiton putting on 110 pence (5.2%) to reach 2,214 pence. The company's stock price, like that of the rest of the sector, has been steadily rising since last summer as the economic outlook from Asia, especially China, has been looking more upbeat. The current year should see a fall in earnings per share, but forecasts for 2014 show a healthy recovery, and there's a dividend yield of around 3.5% expected.
Associated British Foods
The stock price of Associated British Foods, owner of the Primark clothing brand, has soared over the past 12 months by around 50%. And this week we saw a 57 pence (3.3%) rise to 1,765 pence. After the price growth, the stock is now on a forward P/E of over 18, with a dividend yield of around 2% expected. Even with 10% earnings growth forecast for each of the next two years, that price will still look expensive to many.
Temporary power and temperature control supplier Aggreko has had a tough year, with its share price down more than 25% over the past 12 months. And this week brought no respite, with the price falling 131 pence (7.5%) to 1,623 pence. The most recent bad news was December's announcement that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will contribute to a 100 million pound revenue fall from 2012 levels.
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