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3 FTSE 100 Shares Going Ex-Dividend Next Week: BAE Systems plc, HSBC Holdings plc And Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC

With news of the US budget-wrangling turning sour, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has dipped, losing 27 points to 6,522 by mid-morning. But at least it’s not a big fall, so maybe the markets are getting tired of jumping up and down every time nothing much happens in Washington — the brinkmanship will come to an end and it really is nothing to panic about.

One way to avoid daily up-and-down worries is to focus on dividends, and if you do that you need to be sure to hold on to your shares until they pass their ex-dividend date. Here are three FTSE 100 companies reaching that cut-off day next Wednesday, 23 October:

BAE Systems

It’s interim ex-dividend day for BAE Systems (LSE: BA), with shareholders to get an 8p-per-share payment for the first half of 2013. That’s a 2.6% rise over the 7.8p paid out for the first half a year previously, and is well covered by underlying earnings per share (EPS) of 17.8p — although that EPS figure was 4% down.

The City is expecting earnings to pick up in the second half, and analysts are predicting a full-year dividend of around 20p. The share price stands at 436p this morning, so that would suggest a yield of 4.6% if you bought at that price. With BAE a member of the Fool’s Beginners’ Portfolio, I’ll be happy with that.

HSBC Holdings

It’s third-quarter dividend time for shareholders of HSBC Holdings (LSE: HSBA) (NYSE: HBC.US), who will get 10 cents (6.2p) per share. The bank’s policy is to pay three equal dividends for the first three quarters, with the final dividend being variable. If the current analysts’ consensus of 33p per share turns out to be accurate, that’ll mean a final payment of about 14-15p per share to provide a yield of 4.8% on today’s price of 682p.

HSBC’s dividend was slashed by nearly half in the crunch year of 2009, but at least it kept some payments coming, and it has recovered steadily since — this year’s shouldn’t be too far below pre-crunch levels.

Rolls-Royce Holdings

Rolls-Royce Holdings (LSE: RR) is our third for today, with a first-half dividend of 8.6p per share on the way. It was a good first half, too, with revenue up 27% over the first half of 2012 and the firm’s order book up 15%. Underlying EPS gained 27% to 33.3p, and that 8.6p interim payout represents a 13% boost on a year previously.

The same increase in the final payment would provide a total of 22p per share, though with the share price up 25% over the past 12 months to 1.105p, the yield would be a pretty modest 2%.

Finally, do you like having your investment returns boosted by dividends like these? Dividends can be spent or reinvested according to your needs -- whether you're investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome.

And that's why I recommend the "Motley Fool's Top Income Share" special report, in which our top analysts identify a share that they believe will provide handsome dividend income for years to come -- it's currently on a forecast yield of 5.5%!

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> Alan does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.