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LONDON -- Next week is quite a busy one for FTSE 100 ex-dividend dates, and it pays to plan ahead if you want to buy in time to be eligible for a firm's payment -- or if you're hoping for a bargain price drop when the time has passed.
The FTSE 100's current average dividend yield is around 3.1%, and we have three companies coming up next week that are well spread around that figure. The following three will go ex-dividend on Wednesday, April 17:
BAE Systems (LSE: BA ) (NASDAQOTH: BAESY ) will go ex-dividend on Wednesday with respect to its final dividend of 11.7 pence per share, as announced on Feb. 21. Although underlying earnings per share fell a little, to 38.9 pence from the previous year's 39.7 pence, the firm lifted its total payment by 4% to 19.5 pence per share and reiterated its policy of maintaining future dividends at a sustainable cover of around two times underlying earnings.
The total dividend of 19.5 pence per share represents a yield of 5% on the current share price of 385 pence, with the final payment alone providing 3%.
Wednesday is ex-dividend day for ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM ) (NASDAQ: ARMH ) , too. The chip designer is not exactly known as a cash cow when it comes to dividends, but it did announce a 2.83 pence-per-share final dividend on Feb. 5 for an annual total of 4.5 pence. Even if that does only provide a yield of half a percent on today's share price of 879 pence, it is up 29% on the previous year.
A further rise of around 15%, to about 5.2 pence per share, is currently forecast for the year to Dec. 2013.
And somewhere in between BAE and ARM in terms of yield comes gold and silver miner Fresnillo (LSE: FRES ) , also with the same ex-dividend date. This time, it relates to a final dividend of 42.4 cents per share. Added to September's interim payment of 15.5 cents, that brings the total for the year to 57.9 cents per share -- and that's a yield of around 2.8% on today's share price of 1,335 pence, at current exchange rates.
That share price has slumped, though, having lost a third of its value since last November's levels of around the 2,000 pence mark.
Finally, dividends like these can add nicely to your investment returns -- they can be spent or reinvested according to your needs. Whether investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome. And that's why I recommend the brand-new Fool report, "The Motley Fool's Top Income Share for 2013," in which our top analysts identify a share that they believe will provide handsome dividend income for years to come. But it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.