LONDON -- The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES:^FTSE) finished 2013 at 6,749 points, up 851 points (14.4%) from its 2012 close of 5,898. That's not a bad performance, but it's perhaps a bit disappointing after a peak of 6,876 points was reached as long ago as May.
During the past week, the U.K.'s top index dropped 20 points to 6,731 on thin trading. Which stocks moved the most? Here's a brief look:
NEXT stock picked up 615 pence (11.2%) to end at 6,085 pence, all because of a spike on Friday, when the fashion retailer revealed better-than-expected Q4 sales and announced a special dividend.
Sales for the quarter climbed 11.9%, with a 5% year-to-date increase, led by a 21% surge from NEXT Directory. And there'll be 50 pence per share handed back on Feb. 3, with an ex-dividend date of Jan. 15.
Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE:HL)
There was no news from Hargreaves Lansdown, but that didn't stop the stock price from continuing its climb, and it put on a further 92 pence (6.8%) to end the week at 1,441 pence.
The financial-services firm has seen its price double over the year, and we've had an eightfold gain over five years. First-half results are due on Feb. 5, with analysts forecasting a sixth year of double-digit EPS rises.
Shares in housebuilder Persimmon are on the rise again, with a 40 pence (3.3%) gain to 1,259 pence. A November warning that the effect of the government's "Help to Buy" scheme had been "muted" led to a bit of a fall, but figures from Nationwide Building Society this week suggested that house prices rose 8.4% during the year, with a 14.9% rise in the fourth quarter in London.
Persimmon shares are up 50% over 12 months, with EPS growth of around 30% expected for both 2013 and 2014.
Sentiment since the Christmas period has gone against Britain's supermarkets, with market leader Tesco dropping 9.5 pence (2.8%) to 330.5 pence. The price is now down 6% over 12 months, after the hoped-for recovery got off to a couple of false starts during the year.
But it seems to be a general malaise this week, with rival Wm Morrison Supermarkets falling 9.5 pence (3.5%) to 258.2 pence.
Dividends form a core part of many a successful long-term portfolio. Whether you need that income to live on, or want to reinvest it for the long term, there's nothing wrong with collecting robust and attractive payouts. And that's what the Fool's top U.K. analysts have been looking for.
The Motley Fool is helping Britain invest. Better. And with the economy so uncertain, we're urging everyone to read "10 Steps to Making a Million in the Market" -- it may transform your wealth. Click here now to request your free, no-obligation copy.
Further Motley Fool investment opportunities:
Alan Oscroft has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Tesco. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.