The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is faltering today, after the big energy firms took a knock from Labour’s mooted plan to cap energy prices if it wins the next election. Further worries about US fiscal uncertainty didn’t help either, and the index lost 23 points to 6,549 by early afternoon.
Short-term movements like these shouldn’t be of much concern to long-term investors, especially those with an eye for dividends — the FTSE 100 is currently on a forecast average yield of a pretty decent 3.2%. Making sure you hold your shares on each company’s ex-dividend date is of key importance, so here are three companies reaching that vital date next Wednesday, 2 October:
It’s first-quarter dividend time for real-estate investment trust British Land Company (LSE: BLND), with a payment of 6.75p per share at stake. For the quarter to 30 June, the firm made £512m of acquisitions, including taking a “major interest” in Paddington Central as part of a plan to increase investment in London and the West End.
The interim payment represents an annual dividend of 27p per share, which would provide a yield of 4.6% on the current share price of 582p — a price that has been a bit erratic of late, for an overall 10% gain over 12 months. At today’s price, the shares are trading a little below March’s year-end reported net asset value of 596p.
Intertek Group (LSE: ITRK) is due to pay a first-half dividend of 15p per share, which is 15.4% ahead of 2012’s interim payment. That came after a 9.5% rise in revenue led to a gain of 6.4% in diluted earnings per share (EPS) to 61.9p.
Wolfhart Hauser, chief executive of the quality and safety services firm, told us that “We saw challenging market conditions in our minerals business and across Europe, but produced robust growth in a number of other areas, most notably in China, India and the Middle East“.
Forecasts for the full year suggest a 7% rise in EPS, and the dividend should provide a modest yield of around 1.5%.
It’s also a first-half dividend to come from our third for next week, Weir Group (LSE: WEIR), with a payment of 8.8p per share. Despite reporting a 10% fall in revenue for the six months to 30 June, a 14% fall in pre-tax profit and a drop of 13% in EPS, the engineering services firm lifted its interim payment 10% from last year’s 8p per share.
The first-half falls were, however, in line with expectations, and chief executive Keith Cochrane said “We anticipate good sequential revenue and profit growth in the second half“, and indicated “low single digit revenue growth” for the full year.
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%!
But it will only be available for a limited period, so click here to get your copy today.
> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.