Just as the FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) was looking like it might end the week on a rise, Friday comes along and knocks it back 24 points to 6,392. Still, the index's five-year high of 6,534 points was only set on 12 March, and it is a long way away from its 52-week low of 5,230.
But if the FTSE isn't setting new records, there are plenty of individual companies that are. Here are three:
National Grid shares have powered up to a new 52-week high today, of 792.4p. The price has been soaring of late, climbing by 16% since the middle of February, and it's put on about 23% over the past 12 months.
That would be good for a small-cap growth share, but National Grid is a £29bn FTSE 100 behemoth that's also one of the most reliable dividend-payers in the market. For the year ending March 2012, the company provided a yield of 6.2% (based on the share price at the time), and for this year there's a 5.3% yield expected.
This week's news of the best ever Easter trading week for Marks & Spencer Group has sent the shares sharply upward, and yesterday the price ended on a new 12-month closing high of 400.4p -- and today the priced just squeezed above that to reach 400.9p.
The share price has still got some way to go to start properly rewarding shareholders, as it's been treading water for the past few years, but this news does suggest the turnaround plan is working. And M&S has still been paying dividends throughout -- there's a yield of around 4.5% expected for the year just ended. Results are due on 21 May.
Our third today is another well-known High Street (BSE: HIGHSTREE.BO - news) name, WH Smith , whose shares closed on a new 52-week high of 793.5p yesterday and have risen further today to reach 795p. The shares are now up more than 45% over the past 12 months.
The reason behind the latest boost is the firm's interim results, published yesterday, which told us of a 5% rise in pre-tax profit to £69m and a 13% boost to the interim dividend, to 9.4p per share.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.