LONDON -- After a strong showing last week, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) has gone on to even greater things, climbing another 98 points (1.5 %) to end this week at 6,723, setting yet another new five-and-a-half-year record of 6,727 points along the way on Friday. Despite being briefly shaken by fears that the Federal Reserve might start softening its stimulus policies by summer, the FTSE 100 has now recorded six straight days above the 6,600 level.
Here are three of the week's biggest risers, and one faller.
Severn Trent (LSE: SVT )
Water supplier Severn Trent led the index after its price soared 345 pence (19%) to 1,270 pence on Tuesday morning, on the news of a takeover approach from a consortium comprising Borealis Infrastructure Management, the Kuwait Investment Office, and Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited. The bid was rebuffed the next day, with the Severn Trent board telling us it "completely failed to recognize the existing and potential value" of the group, but the price has remained high, possibly on hopes for a renewed bid. Severn Trent ended Friday at 2,050 pence, up 223 pence (12%) on the week.
Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS )
Department-store chain Marks & Spencer saw its stock rise for the week ahead of its full-year results, with the price picking up 31 pence (7.3%) to end the week at 451 pence. The company's most recent quarterly update, released on April 11, revealed its "strongest quarterly sales growth in the last two years," with overall sales up 3.1% year on year and multichannel sales up 23%. The full results are due on Tuesday, May 21.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LSE: RBS )
The U.K.'s High Street banks have been on an upward run of late, with Royal Bank of Scotland heading the sector this week, gaining 37 pence (12.5%) to reach 337 pence. Prospects for the two banks bailed out with taxpayers' money during the depths of the credit crisis are brightening, with a forecast return to profit for RBS pushing the price up more than 60% over the past year. But Lloyds Banking Group has done even better, with a 140% gain over the same period.
Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO )
This week's fallers have been dominated by the mining sector, as doubts concerning the strength of the Chinese economy continue to put pressure on metal and mineral prices. Rio Tinto, one of the FTSE's diversified mining giants, saw its price slip by 137 pence (4.5%) to 2,900 pence. Rio Tinto's price had been doing well from early December, but since a high of 3,872 pence in February, it has slumped by 25%.
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:
- The One U.K. Share Warren Buffett Loves
- Eight Stocks Held by Britain's Super Investor
- The Market's Top Sectors