LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) ended a mostly gloomy week on a high note, closing 0.28% higher at 6,379. It was an erratic today as various companies' results unfolded. Still, ending the week near 6,400 isn't a bad result.
The index of top U.K. shares offers an average dividend yield of about 3% at the moment, and income investors will be looking for companies that can beat that. Here are three that have raised their dividends this week.
Aerospace engineer Bodycote, whose shares have soared about 30% over the past 12 months to today's 546 pence, raised its full-year dividend by 12.8% to 12.3 pence per share on Wednesday after reporting a 19.3% rise in basic earnings per share to 35.8 pence.
That payout represents a yield of 2.3% on today's price and continues a record of dividend growth. And it was covered threefold, so forecasts for a rise to 13.4 pence for the year ending December 2013 and 14.6 pence for 2014 are probably realistic, especially after chief executive Stephen Harris told us that "at this early stage in the year the Board expects modest progress in 2013."
British American Tobacco (LSE:BATS) (NYSE:BTI)
Smoking might not be good for your health, but it's certainly good for profits, as British American Tobacco showed on Thursday. With revenue up 4% to 16 billion pounds and earnings per share up 26% to 198.1 pence, the company was able to boost its 2012 full-year dividend by 7% to 134.9 pence -- that's a yield of 3.9% on today's share price of 3,464 pence.
The firm has been steadily growing its earnings and lifting its dividend payouts for years, with a regular yield of about 4%, and that looks set to continue for this year and next.
Man Group (LSE:EMG)
Investment manager Man Group announced a final dividend of 12.5 cents on Thursday, taking its full-year payout to $0.22 per share, up a modest 0.5% on last year. That's about 15 pence per share, and on the current share price of 96 pence, it represents a yield of 16%.
That level of payout significantly exceeds earnings and is clearly not sustainable, but the firm did announce a new dividend policy. In future years, the intention is to pay out at least 100% of adjusted management fee income as dividends. Based on 2012's fees of 223 million pounds, that would provide a yield of about 6%, which is pretty healthy.
Dividend rises like these three are always welcome, and companies that manage steady payouts form the cornerstones of many a portfolio -- whether investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome. And that's why I recommend the brand-new Fool report "The Motley Fool's Top Income Share For 2013," in which our top analysts identify a share that they believe will provide handsome dividend income for years to come. But it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.