LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) slipped further this week as investors worried about the future of economic-stimulus policies. However, it recovered some of those losses today, gaining 1.2%, to end the week down about 2%. That's still a rise of more than 16% over the past 12 months. And there's another way of profiting from shares besides capital gains, too. I'm talking about dividends -- and the recent falls have raised the FTSE's overall dividend yield forecast to 3.3%.
But, if you're selective, you can get a better yield than that, so let's look at three companies that have lifted their dividends this week.
Johnson Matthey (LSE:JMAT)
Specialist chemicals supplier Johnson Matthey declared a final dividend of 41.5 pence per share on Thursday, taking its total for the year up 4%, to 57 pence (though there is no repeat of last year's 100 pence special dividend). That lift came despite underlying pre-tax profit falling 9% to 389 million pounds, and underlying earnings per share dropping 2%, to 150 pence.,
But the dividend was well covered, and provides a yield of 2% on a share price of 2,772 pence. Forecasts for next year suggest a modest 3% rise in earnings, putting the shares on a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 18, and a dividend yield of 2.5%
It's not yet time for news of ordinary dividends from Moneysupermarket.com, but on Wednesday, the financial comparison website announced a special dividend of 12.92 pence per share to be paid on 26 July, which "is being used to return funds to shareholders and reflects the Board's confidence in the ability of the business to generate cash."
On a share price of 197 pence, that payment represents a return of 6.6%, and there's an additional 3.4% yield being forecast for the full-year ordinary dividend. And on top of that, the share price is itself up 60% over the past 12 months.
RPC Group (LSE:RPC)
Plastic packaging maker RPC Group was able to raise its full-year dividend by 3.5%, to 14.9 pence on Wednesday, despite seeing adjusted earnings per share fall by 6.7%, to 34.8 pence. But at least the dividend seems adequately covered, and provides a yield of 3.5% on the share price of 425 pence.
The firm has been steadily lifting its dividend for some years, and there's a further 4.7% rise currently being forecast for the year to March 2014, for a yield of 3.9%.
Finally, if you're looking for top investment ideas, it could well pay to take a close look at what Neil Woodford is buying. The ace investor, whose Invesco Perpetual High Income fund would have turned 10,000 pounds into 193,000 pounds since its launch in 1988, remains bullish on the Aerospace & 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.