3 FTSE Dividends Lifted This Week

LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) is dithering a few points to either side of yesterday's close, and is down nine points to 5,852 at the time of writing. Barring a dramatic afternoon, it looks likely to close this week a little up on last week.

We've seen a few companies beat the FTSE this week, and they have also increased their dividends. Here are three that are rewarding shareholders.

Imperial Tobacco (LSE: IMT.L  )
Imperial Tobacco boosted its full-year dividend by 11% to 105.6 pence per share this week, giving shareholders a yield of 4.4% based on the current share price of 2,381 pence. And it's nicely covered by earnings per share of 201 pence.

Imperial is one of the few companies that was pretty much unaffected by the banking crisis and the recession, and it has steadily grown its earnings and dividend payouts year after year.

BP (LSE: BP.L  ) (NYSE: BP  )
BP further indicated its return to health by lifting its third-quarter dividend by 12.5% to nine cents per share on Tuesday. Prior to the release of Q3 figures, City analysts had been forecasting a full-year dividend of 20 pence per share, but that could well be revised upward now; we await new forecasts.

A payout of 20 pence would provide a 4.5% yield on the shares at 444 pence, and though BP does need to plow a lot of its earnings back into future development, it should still be decently covered.

BT Group topped both of these, in percentage terms at least, with a 15% rise in its halftime dividend, offering a payout of 3 pence per share -- from a period that brought an 8% rise in earnings. BT's dividends are weighted toward the second half, and the telecom giant could well be set to meet analysts' expectations for a full-year payout of about 4.2%.

Companies paying strong and rising dividends like these are just what Neil Woodford, who regularly beats the FTSE, looks for. The Motley Fool report "8 Shares Held By Britain's Super Investor" could help you to emulate his success. Click here for your free copy.

These companies also form the cornerstones of many a million-pound portfolio, and we'd all like to accumulate one of those, wouldn't we? This Motley Fool report takes a look at how make big money from shares. Click here to get your free copy now.

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Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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