LONDON -- Until late Thursday, it had been looking as if the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE ) was heading for its third losing week in a row, as worries about the U.S. budget deadlock affected European stock markets. But as a short-term compromise started to emerge toward the end of the week, the index recovered to finish with a 33-point gain to 6,487.
Persimmon (LSE: PSN )
Britain's housebuilders had a good week in response to the next phase of the government's "Help to Buy" program, which offers guarantees to lenders. Persimmon was the biggest winner, with a 120 pence (11.1%) rise to 1,197 pence. The plan was strengthened by Barclays bank agreeing to join, meaning around two-thirds of the country's mortgage lenders are now on board. Over the past year, the Persimmon price has soared by 62%.
Whitbread (LSE: WTB )
Hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator Whitbread saw its shares pick up 248 pence (8.4%) to end the week at 3,210 pence, amid rumours that the company may be ready to sell off its Costa Coffee chain -- the Costa business enjoyed an 18% jump in sales in the second quarter. Barclays added to the enthusiasm by lifting its target price to 3,420 pence. Whitbread shares are now up 37% over the past 12 months, though dividend yields are low at around 2%.
BAE Systems (LSE: BA )
Despite gaining on the day of the company's third-quarter update, shares in BAE Systems fell back on Friday to end the week 17.5 pence (3.9%) down at 436 pence. Trading for the quarter was in line with expectations announced at halfway time, and double-digit growth in underlying earnings per share for the full year is anticipated -- but that could be affected by 6 to 7 pence if negotiations over the firm's Salam contract do not complete by year-end.
Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED )
A Q2 production update on Wednesday didn't help diversified miner Vedanta, and its stock fell 36 pence (3.4%) to 1,020 pence. Oil and gas production reached a record level of 213,299 barrels of oil equivalent per day for the quarter, but copper output fell and power sales dropped by 29%. Iron ore mining in India has been halted for legal reasons, but after the country's Supreme Court lifted restrictions, Vedanta expects to resume production shortly.
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% 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: