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LONDON -- The FTSE 100 has been erratic this week, boosted by positive earnings, buoyed by hopes of further economic stimulus measures from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank but dampened by worse-than-expected U.S. jobs data. But if capital gains from the index are unpredictable, at least there are dividend gains to be had: Forecasts suggest an overall yield from the FTSE 100 of about 3.2%.
And there has been news of dividends from a number of companies this week. Let's look at two boosts and one cut.
BP (LSE: BP ) (NYSE: BP )
On Tuesday, BP announced a rise in its first-quarter per-share dividend from $0.08 to $0.09 after reporting a $17 billion first-quarter profit. That did include an accounting gain of $12 billion from the sale of BP's TNK-BP interest, and underlying profit for the three months amounted to $4.2 billion.
BP's first-quarter dividend will be paid in June, with the amount in sterling due to be announced on June 10, and there will be the opportunity for shareholders to take a scrip dividend instead of cash. Analysts are forecasting a full-year yield from BP of 5.2% based on the current share price of 467 pence.
Aberdeen Asset Management (LSE: ADN )
Aberdeen Asset Management released interim results for the six months to March 31 on Monday, revealing a 25% rise in revenue to 516 million pounds and a 37% rise in underlying pre-tax profit to 223 million pounds, with assets under management growing by 13% to reach 212 billion pounds.
That resulted in a 43% rise in earnings per share, enabling the investment manager to lift its halftime dividend by 36% over the same period last year, with shareholders to get 6 pence per share. Prior to this week's announcement, the City was forecasting a full-year dividend yield of around 3.3% based on a 442 pence share price, but that may well be rerated upward now.
Home Retail (NYSE: HOME )
But it was not all sweetness and light on the dividend front this week, as Home Retail Group was forced to cut its full-year dividend to 3 pence per share, down 36% from last year's 4.7 pence payment -- and that's way down from the 14.7 pence per share the firm was paying before the rot set in at Argos.
But perhaps surprisingly, Argos was not the culprit this time, having recorded its first like-for-like sales growth in five years. No, this time it was Homebase, whose underlying operating profit crashed by 50% to 11 million pounds. The share price has slumped 12.5% to 140 pence since yesterday's announcement.
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