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5 FTSE 100 Dates for Your May Diaries

Alan Oscroft
April 30, 2013

LONDON -- As May arrives, we're moving into full-year reporting season for companies whose financial years end on March 31 -- and that includes a number of our best-loved FTSE 100 firms. We will actually have full-year figures from several of them next week, but we'll take a look at those later this week. Today, we'll look at five key results coming our way over the rest of May:

Thursday, May 16: National Grid (LSE: NG)
Electricity and gas supplier National Grid will report on its full year on May 16. The key figure for cash-cow investments like this is the dividend, though the share price has risen by 23% over the past 12 months to today's 814 pence, boosted by strong interim results.

A year ago, shareholders enjoyed a dividend yield of 6.2% based on the end-of-year share price. We should be expecting to see a rise in the payment of about 4.5% based on City forecasts -- though the share price appreciation does drop the prospective yield to about 5%. That's still pretty good, considering that utility company dividends are among the safest in the FTSE.

Tuesday, May 21: Marks & Spencer (LSE: MKS)
It's reckoning time for Marks & Spencer on May 21, when we'll hear how the latest chapter in the high-street chain's recovery story has ended. This month's fourth-quarter update told of the "strongest quarterly sales growth in the last two years," with overall group sales up 3.1%. U.K. sales were led by food, though, with general merchandise declining.

Current forecasts suggest a fall in earnings per share of about 8% and a dividend yield of 4%, based on the current share price of 411 pence. And at this stage it would be surprising if that were not close to the truth, especially after the Q4 update told us, "We continue to make good progress in transforming Marks & Spencer from a traditional U.K. retailer to an international multi-channel retailer."

Tuesday, May 21: Vodafone (LSE: VOD)
The same day will bring us annual results