LONDON -- The FTSE 100 has set a new five-and-a-half year high today of 6,638 points, though it's back a bit from that on 6,613 by early afternoon, and that takes the index of top U.K. shares up nearly 20% over the past 12 months. But it's not the only way people make money from shares -- the FTSE 100 is offering an overall dividend yield of 3% at the moment, forecast to rise to 3.2% over the next year, and that's backed by some recent rises.
Here are three companies that have lifted their dividends this week:
J Sainsbury (LSE: SBRY) (NASDAQOTH: JSAIY) released annual results on Wednesday and announced a final dividend of 11.9 pence per share to lift its full-year payment by 3.7% to 16.7 pence per share -- on today's price of 380 pence, that's a yield of 4.4%. The dividend boost was made possible by a 6.2% rise in pre-tax profit to 756 million pounds, from sales that were up 4.6% to 25.6 billion pounds. Earnings per share came in at 30.7 pence, for a 9.3% rise.
Sainsbury is also set to acquire the 50% interest in Sainsbury's Bank that is currently held by Lloyds Banking Group, giving it full control -- the operation is expected to "deliver cash payback within eight years."
Sage Group (LSE: SGE), known for its accounting and business management software, lifted its interim dividend by 6% to 3.69 pence per share on Wednesday, after underlying earnings per share were up 15% for the six months to March 31. But for income seekers there was more, as the firm proposed a special dividend payout of 200 million pounds, which is approximately 17 pence per share -- it should take the total amount of cash returned to shareholders over the past 18 months to nearly 1 billion pounds.
For the full year, there's an analysts' consensus for a dividend of around 11 pence per share, which would provide a yield of 3.2% on the 349 pence share price.
We had full-year results from Experian (LSE: EXPN) on Thursday, with the financial information company telling us of "considerable strategic progress with our global growth programme gaining momentum and delivering strong results." After seeing underlying pre-tax profit rise by 6% to $1,195 million, with underlying earnings per share up 9% to $0.857 , the firm announced a final dividend of $0.24 per share to take the full-year total up 9% to $0.3475 per share.
With the share price currently at 1,231 pence, that's a yield of 1.8% -- not a massive income, but we have steady rises forecast for the next two years that should take it to around 2.3% by 2015.
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