The FTSE 100 has had an unremarkable 2014 so far with a 12-month gain of only 3%, but it hides a few high-flyers that would have rewarded you well this year
Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) reported a third successive quarterly profit in October, and beat rival Lloyds Banking Group in the recent European banking stress tests. Thats helped push RBS shares to a new 52-week high of 399.4p on 3 December, for a 12-month gain of 19%.
But investors do need to bear in mind chief executive Ross McEwans warning that RBS still has a long list of conduct and litigation issues to deal with and much, much more to do to restore our customers trust in us.
Associated British Foods
Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) might sound like an unlikely winner, but it also owns the Primark bargain fashion chain, and thats helped push its shares up 40% to a 52-week high of 3,215p, also on 3 December.
Adjusted earnings per share for the year to September were up 6% and net debt was reduced to 446m. The shares are, however, now on a forward P/E of 30, which is more than twice the FTSE 100 average.
Its strong relationship with Saudi Arabia has helped BAE Systems (LSE: BA) counter reduced domestic defence spending, and that has given the shares a boost to a 52-week high of 483.4p.
Thats a 12-month gain of 15%, but the shares are still on a forward P/E of only 12 for 2015 with a dividend of 4.3% forecast there could be plenty more to come next year.
Legal & General
The life insurance business has been storming back as the recession fades, with Legal & General (LSE: LGEN) being amongst the sectors top performers, and its the fourth to hit a 52-week high on the same day, of 248.7p the shares are up 19% over 12 months.
At Q3 time, chief executive Nigel Wilson said We are growing our revenues, operating profit, customers and net cash, which lends support to a forecast dividend yield of 5% for 2015.
London Stock Exchange
To finish our five, we have the London Stock Exchange (LSE: LSE) itself, with a year of strong market activity helping push its shares up 53% to a 52-week record of 2,266p on 28 November theyre only a little back from that at 2,231p as I write.
At first-half time the LSE reported an 18% rise in revenue, with adjusted basic EPS up 22%. The company lifted its interim dividend by 4.3%, though the full-year yield is likely to be only around 1.5%.
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