LONDON -- While the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) peaked at a new 52-week record of 6,483 points today and is up 0.26% to 6,456 as of 8:10 a.m. EST, it has not enjoyed one of the best decades on record over the past 10 years. But dividends have helped make up for that, and with the FTSE 100 offering an average yield of about 3%, you can still beat cash in the bank even if share prices remain static.
But share prices and dividends are both rising at the moment. Here are three FTSE 100 companies that lifted their annual payouts this Thursday.
Power and temperature-control equipment supplier Aggreko raised its full-year dividend by 15% to 23.91 pence per share. That is a yield of only about 1.3% on the current share price, but it is moving in the right direction -- the firm's dividend payout has risen for five straight years.
Current forecasts suggest further dividend boosts over the next two years, and even with earnings per share predicted to slip by 6% this year, the payout should still be more than twice covered. And for 2014, analysts are forecasting a return to earnings growth, with an 11% rise in the cards.
IMI lifted its dividend by 8% to 32.5 pence per share on the day full-year results sent the engineering firm's shares soaring -- the price gained 4.5% on the day and is now up more than 30% over the past 12 months to 1,320 pence.
This time the payout amounted to a yield of 2.6% on the previous day's close, which is a little below the FTSE 100 average. But IMI has been delivering steadily rising dividends, which are always well covered -- the latest was covered more than 2.5 times by earnings. Forecasts for December 2013 suggest a further 8% dividend rise, providing a 2.7% yield on the current share price.
The last of our three from Thursday, investment firm Schroders, lifted its annual dividend by 10% to 43 pence per share, which exceeded analysts' expectations. That's a yield of about 2.2%. Schroders' annual payout has remained solid throughout the recession, and though earnings were erratic, they provided plenty of dividend cover. The current forecast of a dividend of 44 pence per share for 2013 is likely to be revised upward now, so we should be looking forward to a yield of more than 2% on the current price.
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.
Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.