LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) has had a great week, smashing through records to set a new five-and-a-half year high of 6,638 points during Friday, and closing the week a few points down from that on 6,625. That's seven sessions of gains in a row, mostly boosted by positive earnings reports from some of the U.K.'s top companies, but also supported by continuing economic stimulus measures.
We take a look at three of the week's biggest risers, and one faller.
BT Group (LSE: SL )
BT Group saw its price rise by 34.5 pence (12.5%) to 309.5 pence, after the U.K.'s biggest fixed-line telecom company announced a 14% increase in its annual dividend on Friday, to 9.5 pence. That's a yield of 3.1% on the current price -- and BT intends to lift its payment by 10%-15% per year over the next two years. Although actual revenues fell, by 5% to 18.3 billion pounds, substantial savings in operating costs were made, and BT managed to get net debt down by 1.3 billion pounds to 7.8 billion. We also heard that BT's broadband fiber now reaches more than half of U.K. homes and businesses, and that 1.5 million customers have signed up for it.
Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY )
Lloyds Banking Group gained a little when the partly state-owned bank released first-quarter figures on April 30, revealing a pre-tax profit of 2.04 billion pounds -- the same period a year previously brought a profit of just 280 million pounds, though that was largely due to money set aside to cover mis-sold financial products. Then over the past week, the price has powered up a further 9.3% to 59 pence, taking it to a 90% gain over the past 12 months. Lloyds, which currently owns 50% of Sainsbury's Bank, is to sell that stake to J Sainsbury, which will then be the sole owner. Lloyds should pocket 248 million pounds from the deal.
TUI Travel (LSE: TT )
Travel agent TUI Travel got off to a good first half, telling us on Friday of a 14% improvement in its operating performance. It's the seasonal low point and a loss was expected, but at 274 million pounds it was better by 43 million on the previous year. Net debt is down, cash flow is improved, and TUI lifted its interim dividend by 10% to 3.75 pence. A similar rise in the final dividend should give us a yield of around 3.7%, after the share price gained 23 pence (7%) to end on 347 pence.
G4S (LSE: GFS )
Security group G4S headed the list of fallers by quite some way, with its price plunging 58 pence (19%) to 248 pence after disappointing first-quarter results were released on Tuesday. The company, which famously failed in its Olympics contract last year, warned of poor trading in Europe with a squeeze on margins and expects the pressure to continue for the rest of the year. On the bright side, overall revenues were actually up 7.5%, though earnings growth forecasts are pretty certain to be cut now.
Dividends form a core part of many a successful long-term portfolio. Whether you need that income to live on, or want to reinvest it for the long term, there's nothing wrong with collecting robust and attractive payouts. And that's what the Fool's top U.K. analysts have been looking for.
In fact, they have uncovered a stock offering a yield of 5.7%, which they have declared their "Top Income Stock for 2013." The full in-depth report is free and can be accessed immediately -- just click here.
The Motley Fool is helping Britain invest. Better. And with the economy so uncertain, we're urging everyone to read "10 Steps to Making a Million in the Market" -- it may transform your wealth. Click here now to request your free, no-obligation copy.
Further Motley Fool investment opportunities: