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3 FTSE Dividends Lifted This Week: Bunzl plc, Antofagasta plc And WPP PLC

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) looks set for its fourth losing week in a row, dropping 23 points to 6,460 by mid-morning and to stand 32 points down the week. Still, an improvement in sentiment today could still break the FTSE’s losing streak. But even if it does fall further, one advantage is that we will be able to buy up shares at better prices and get higher dividend yields — the index is offering an average yield of around 3.2%.

Rising dividends are what many income seekers want, so which companies have been lifting their payouts this week? Here are three:

Bunzl

The week opened well for Bunzl (LSE: BNZL), with the outsourcer and distributor releasing first-half results. After revenue rose 11% to £2.96bn, adjusted pre-tax profit gained 10% to £168m and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) was up 10% to 37.1p, the board proposed a 14% rise in the interim dividend to 10p per share.

Bunzl doesn’t offer a great yield, with the City forecasting a modest 2.3% on the current share price of 1,362p, but it is pretty reliable. Along with earnings, the dividend has grown year-on-year for the past five years, and that trend looks set to continue for this year and next. The share price has done well too, up more than 20% over the past 12 months.

Antofagasta

Miners are into and out of favour almost on a daily basis these days, with the big ones all set to record falling earnings this year as commodities have slumped in price. That’s what happened to Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO) on Tuesday, as the firm reported a 39% fall in first-half EPS to 40.1 cents.

But with the firm’s net cash position improving by 12.5%, the board saw fit to lift the interim dividend by 4.7% to 8.9 cents per share. With the share price at 854p, we should only be expecting a full-year dividend yield of around 2.5%, but it’s worth having while we await an upturn in commodities demand.

WPP

Advertising and media giant WPP (LSE: WPP) (NASDAQ: WPPGY) has had a great 12 months, with its share price up 50% to 1,205p — and that was confirmed by a 20% rise in the firm’s first-half dividend on Thursday. It came after a 7.1% rise in revenue to £5.3bn (with like-for-like up 2.4%) and a headline pre-tax profit rise of 12% to £524m.

We’ve had a somewhat better yield from WPP in recent years, topping 3%, but that powerful share price appreciation has lowered it — the City is expecting around 2.7% for the year to December.

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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.