LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) has been having a good week so far, gaining 53 points by the close of play on Tuesday to set a new 52-week record of 6,432. As of 8:30 a.m. EST today, the index was continuing its climb to reach 6,458. Despite miners dragging the index down on Monday, economic indicators are generally sounding good, and we've had a number of strong company results.
But how do those companies' dividends compare to the FTSE's average of about 3%? Here are three that have lifted them this week.
Intertek Group boosted its full-year dividend by 22% to 41 pence per share on Monday when the safety expert and operator of product-testing labs released full-year results. The dividend has almost doubled in four years since 2008's 20.8 pence per share, while earnings have also almost doubled from 67.8 pence per share in 2008 to 133.1 pence this time. And we have more of the same forecast for 2013, with a further 16% hike to the dividend expected.
The 2012 dividend only amounts to a yield of 1.2% based on the current share price of 3,434 pence, but that's because the share price has appreciated so much in the past few years. From December 2008, when that year's yield was 2.7%, the share price has more than quadrupled.
Specialist insurer Amlin also lifted its 2012 full-year dividend on Monday, by 4.3% to 24 pence per share. That's not a massive annual increase, but it represents a yield of 5.7% on a share price of 424 pence -- and it was more than twice covered by earnings.
As with many insurers, Amlin's earnings have been erratic, but the dividend has been steady right through the economic crisis -- and steady is what most income investors want. With earnings expected to be down a bit in 2013 and back up again in 2014, analysts are forecasting rises in the dividend of around 5% per year for the next two years.
John Wood (LSE:WG)
Tuesday brought us results from oil services engineer John Wood Group, and with them came a 26% rise in the firm's full-year dividend to $0.17 per share. On a price of 824 pence per share, that's a yield of only about 1.4%, but it was more than four times covered, and it adds a little extra to an almost quadrupling of the share price from the dark days of 2009.
Current forecasts suggest a 30% rise in earnings for 2013 and a 14% boost to the dividend, with a further rise for 2014 taking the dividend yield up to 2%.
Dividend rises like these three are always welcome, and companies that manage steady payouts form the cornerstones of many a portfolio. Whether you're 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.