LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE ) reached a new four-month high this week of 5,860 points, before falling back a little to end the week at 5,847. An absence of new panics in Europe helped, but the index of top U.K. companies was lifted mostly by recovering mining and banking stocks, though there was one notable exception.
Standard Chartered (LSE: STAN.L )
Standard Chartered crashed 375 pence (23%) on Tuesday morning to 1,225 pence after the New York Department of Financial Services accused the London-based bank of carrying out $250 billion of transactions connected with Iran in defiance of U.S. laws and called it a "rogue institution."
The shares dipped even further as the day progressed, hitting a low of 1,106 pence, before recovering to end the week on 1,327 pence. The DFS's accusations are being hotly contested, and the bank itself puts the value of non-compliant transactions at only $14 million.
Vodafone (LSE: VOD.L )
U.K.-based mobile-phone giant Vodafone hit a 52-week high this week. On the week it ended pretty much flat, but the price has gained 4% since the start of the month to 190 pence and 17% since May's low point of 164 pence.
But what's really looking good about Vodafone is that even though the price has strengthened nicely of late, current forecasts still indicate a dividend yield of 6.9% for the year to March 2013, and 7.2% for the year after -- and with Vodafone's commitment to annual dividend raises, those are believable.
AMEC (LSE: AMEC.L )
Engineering group AMEC fell 85 pence (7.3%) from 1,158 pence to a day's low of 1,073 pence on Thursday after releasing interim results, which clearly did not please the market.
Despite growing revenue 37% to 2.03 billion pounds and seeing pre-tax profit rise 25% to 126 million pounds, the company, which provides engineering infrastructure to the oil and gas exploration industry, told us that the second half is likely to show significantly lower growth than the first.
Aviva (LSE: AV.L )
Despite falling on the morning of its interim results, Aviva ended the week up 17 pence (5.5%) at 323 pence. Although the FTSE 100 life insurer's operating profit for the first half fell by 10% to 935 million pounds, and the figures were hit by an 876 million pound writeoff relating to its U.S. business, the firm kept its halftime dividend at 10 pence per share.
What makes Aviva look attractive right now is that dividend. Even if the full-year payout is kept unchanged from last year -- and the current consensus is for a modest rise -- we should be enjoying a yield of 8%, which should be well covered by earnings.
Is that cheap? Well, that's for you to decide.
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