LONDON -- This morning the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) came within a fraction of a point of beating its five-year record of 6,534 set on Tuesday. But the index has since fallen back to 6,497, down 0.5% as of 8:25 a.m. EDT.
But investing is not all about capital appreciation, of course, as regular dividends provide steady income and help smooth out the ups and downs of share prices. The FTSE 100's dividend yield is about 3.1% at the moment, which compares favorably to a bank savings account.
But which companies are paying out the cash? Here are three that have raised their dividend payments this week.
G4S lifted its 2012 full-year dividend on Wednesday by 5% to 8.96 pence per share. The share price stands at about 300 pence today; at that price, the dividend represents a yield of 3%.
Apart from the Olympics fiasco, G4S otherwise had a decent year. Excluding the botched London 2012 contract, the firm turned in a 6% profit rise of 516 million pounds. Dividend advances 4% and 9% are also forecast for 2013 and 2014, respectively, representing yields of 3% and 3.3%. And with the shares on a forward P/E of 12 for 2013, falling to 11 for 2014, is now a good time to buy? That's for you to decide.
888 Holdings (LSE:888)
Online gaming operator 888 Holdings, whose shares had more than tripled over the past 12 months before falling back in the course of the last week, announced a final dividend of $0.045 per share on Wednesday, along with an additional one-off payout of $0.02 per share. Added to the interim dividend, the payments gave a total of $0.09 per share for a yield of 3.8% on the latest share price of 159 pence. Without the special $0.02, the yield is 2.9%.
The firm reported revenue up 13% to $367 million and adjusted EBITDA up 20% to $67 million, with chief executive Brian Mattingley telling us, "We remain confident in the outlook for 2013 and beyond."
Wm. Morrison (LSE:MRW)
Thursday brought a dividend boost from Wm. Morrison Supermarkets, with the payment up 10% to 11.8 pence per share. On a share price of 276 pence, that's a yield of 4.3%, which is not bad for a supposedly struggling supermarket chain.
Morrisons has been losing market share to its rivals, but a couple of recent events are cause for some optimism. Firstly, Morrisons is planning to enter the online grocery market and is seeking help from Ocado. And secondly, dividend expert Neil Woodford has upped his stake in the company to 7.69%, having sold Tesco last year.
Indeed, if you're looking for top investment ideas, it could well pay to take a close look at what else Neil Woodford is buying. The ace investor, whose Invesco Perpetual High Income fund has turned 10,000 pounds into 193,000 pounds since its launch in 1988, remains bullish on the aerospace and defense sector. If you want to learn more, check out the Fool's latest examination of Woodford's holdings. But hurry, because the report will be available for a limited period only. Click here to enjoy your copy today.