LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) rose another 0.18% today to close at 6,439 points after bouncing as high as 6,460 earlier in the day -- just a point short of the 52-week intraday high of 6,461 it set yesterday. The market has been strengthened by a series of upbeat company results this week, with a number of companies paying out bigger dividends.
Against the FTSE's average dividend yield of about 3%, here are some companies from the top tier that have all boosted their payouts this week.
Xstrata and Glencore (LSE:GLEN), the two partners in the ongoing FTSE 100 megamerger, both released annual results on Tuesday -- and both raised their full-year dividends. Xstrata's dividend was boosted by 14% to $0.455 per share after the miner reported pre-exceptional earnings per share of $1.24. And Glencore, after revealing EPS of $0.44, announced a $0.1575 per-share dividend, up 5%.
Next year, of course, we should be seeing combined results and a combined dividend. The final steps in the merger have been delayed, but it should all be done and dusted by April 16. Xstrata shares are currently trading at 1,150 pence, with Glencore at 385 pence.
Legal & General (LSE:LGEN)
Legal & General Group raised its annual dividend on Wednesday by 20% to 7.65 pence per share, up from 6.4 pence in 2011. That represents a yield of 4.7% at a share price of 164 pence -- and after fellow insurers RSA and Aviva cut their final dividends, Legal & General's is pretty much in line with the sector.
Chief executive Nigel Wilson said, "Our 20% increase in dividend is underpinned by 12% EPS growth and strong cash flow." Current forecasts suggest a further dividend rise of 7% to 8.2 pence per share for 2013.
Final results from Melrose Industries on Wednesday allowed the manufacturing turnaround specialist to lift its full-year dividend by 2.7% to 7.6 pence per share. On today's 260 pence share price, that's a yield of 2.9%, which is perhaps not a payout that income investors would dream of, but the share price has quadrupled since early 2009.
Melrose, which buys up struggling companies and revamps them, has been growing its earnings and dividends for years, and forecasts suggest more of the same for 2013 and 2014.
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 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.