InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON: IHG), BHP Billiton plc (LON: BLT) and Rexam PLC (LON: REX) all boost their dividends.
The FTSE 100 slid 102 points to 6,293 today, following downbeat economic news from Europe that suggests we could be seeing a shrinkage of 0.3% in the first quarter. There are also fears that the US stimulus package could be coming to and end.
What's the way to deal with volatile times? Investing in companies that provide steady dividend income is one way. Here are three that have raised their payments this week:
InterContinental Hotels Group (LSE: IHG) lifted its full-year dividend by 16% on Tuesday, to 64 cents per share. On the current share price of 1,922p, that's a yield of a little over 2%. Revenue for the year came in 4% ahead at $1.84 billion, with adjusted earnings per share (EPS) up 9% to 141.4 cents.
The latest dividend does not provide a particularly high yield, but InterContinental has a record of keeping its payouts well covered and was able to continue them through the recession. And in addition, the share price has put on around 35% over the past 12 months.
On Wednesday, BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) (NYSE: BBL.US) released half-year results and raised its interim dividend by 4%, to 57 cents per share from 55 cents last year. That came despite revenue falling $5 billion to $32 billion with underlying operating profit down $6 billion to $10 billion -- but it was in a year of low commodities prices.
The share price has dropped from Tuesday's close of 2,236p to 2,105p today, for a fall of 5.9%. Forecasts for the year to June 2013 indicate a fall in EPS of 22%, but a recovery is predicted for the following year, and we should see dividends continue upwards.
Final results from Rexam (LSE: REX), released on Wednesday, allowed the company to lift its full-year dividend by 6% to 15.2p per share. That was more than twice-covered by EPS, and represents a yield of 3% on the current price of 505p. The consumer packaging company was forced to slash its dividend in 2009 when earnings slumped, but since then it has been raising its dividend steadily, year-on-year.
Forecasts suggest two further years of both earnings and dividend growth, with 2013 figures suggesting a yield of 3.7%, rising to 4% for 2014 estimates.
Finally, dividend rises like these three are always welcome, and companies that manage steady payouts form the cornerstones of many a portfolio -- whether investing for income or growth, good old cash is always welcome.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.