LONDON -- We saw a small fall in the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) this week, with the index of top U.K. stocks dropping 28 points to finish Friday at 6,810.
But it was also the end of one of the FTSE's best months for some time -- over the course of February it put on an impressive 299 points to rebound from January's mini-slump.
We had a number of key company results during the week too, which moved a few prices.
Weir Group (LSE:WEIR)
Results from energy industry engineer Weir Group looked pretty good considering the tough year in the company's markets, and a 4% drop in revenue to 2.43 billion pounds was respectable. Pre-tax profit slipped 5% to 418 million pounds, and earnings per share fell 2%. But cash flow was strong, and the dividend was lifted 11% to 42 pence per share.
Investors responded positively, sending the price up 221 pence (9.4%) on the week to 2,567 pence -- and that's a 12-month gain of nearly 10%.
Diversified support provider Capita revealed a 15% rise in 2013 revenue to 3.9 billion pounds, with pre-tax profit up 14% to 215 million pounds and EPS also up 14%, to 59.4 pence.
Shareholders have enjoyed a price gain of around a third over the year, including a boost of 55 pence (5.1%) this week to 1,140 pence. And they're now set for a full-year dividend of 26.5 pence per share too, up 13%.
Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE:NWG)
Royal Bank of Scotland stock was up around 15% over 12 months -- until the bank that was bailed out with taxpayers' money reported a pre-tax loss of 8.2 billion pounds for 2013 this week.
It was largely expected, with hefty provisions made for mis-selling and litigation, and bad assets now cornered off in RBS's internal "bad bank." But the markets weren't pleased -- the price crashed 32 pence (8.9%) to 328 pence.
Advertising and media giant WPP also released 2013 results this week, reporting a 6.2% rise in revenue to 11 billion pounds and a 19% rise in pre-tax profit to 1.3 billion pounds. EPS rose by 10% to 80.8 pence, the dividend was boosted 20% to 34.2 pence per share, and the company upped its buyback target.
The result? a 35 pence (2.6%) price fall to 1,308 pence -- but the stock is still up more than 20% over the past 12 months
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: