LONDON -- We had the old stimulus-tapering panic again this week, with the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) dropping as low as 6,614 points on Wednesday for a 94-point fall on the week. But indications from the Federal Reserve that bond-buying is likely to go on for a while longer eased fears later in the week, and the top London index recovered to end Friday just 15 points down at 6,693.
J Sainsbury (LSE:SBRY)
Supermarket J Sainsbury, long hidden in the shadow of bigger rival Tesco, turned the tables this week with a 7% rise in first-half underlying pre-tax profit to 400 million pounds after seeing revenue rise by 4.4%. Underlying earnings per share perked up 9.2%, and we had a 4.2% rise in the interim dividend to 5 pence per share.
Sainsbury also crucially saw its market share rise to 16.8% and won the "Supermarket of the Year" title for the sixth time in eight years. The share price? Up 14 pence (3.5%) over the week to 409 pence.
Severn Trent (LSE:SVT)
Severn Trent, the provider of water and sewage handling, was perhaps an unlikely winner last week, with a rise of 60 pence (3.4%) to 1,830 pence. That takes the price up around 20% over the past 12 months, which is just about bang-on the FTSE's progress.
But Severn Trent is offering a likely dividend yield of 4.5%, nicely beating the FTSE's average of 3.1%.
British Sky Broadcasting (LSE:SKY)
Satellite-TV operator British Sky Broadcasting saw its shares dumped last week, falling 110.5 pence (11.9%) to end on 819.5 pence. Nineteen pence of that amount can be put down to an ex-dividend dip, but the remainder was the result of a coup pulled off by rival BT Group.
BT secured the rights to show European soccer matches for three seasons starting in 2015, and the games will now exclusively appear on its BT Sports channels.
RSA Insurance (LSE:RSA)
RSA Insurance suffered further fallout from "issues" associated with its Irish claims and finance functions revealed as a result of a routine internal audit, which initially led to the departure of Irish CEO Philip Smith, CFO Rory O'Connor, and Claims Director Peter Burke.
This week we heard that there will now be an independent investigation focusing on regulatory reporting processes and controls in its Irish business. The share price, which has crashed from 128 pence since the news broke, dropped a further 16 pence (13.5%) to 104.5 pence this week.
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