LONDON — The FTSE 100 has had a great week, smashing through records to set a new five-and-a-half year high of 6,638 points during Friday, and closing the week a few points down from that on 6,625. That’s seven sessions of gains in a row, mostly boosted by positive earnings reports from some of the U.K.’s top companies, but also supported by continuing economic stimulus measures.
We take a look at three of the week’s biggest risers, and one faller.
BT Group plc (LON:BT.A)
BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) saw its price rise by 34.5 pence (12.5%) to 309.5 pence, after the U.K.’s biggest fixed-line telecom company announced a 14% increase in its annual dividend on Friday, to 9.5 pence. That’s a yield of 3.1% on the current price — and BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) intends to lift its payment by 10%-15% per year over the next two years. Although actual revenues fell, by 5% to 18.3 billion pounds, substantial savings in operating costs were made, and BT Group plc (LON:BT.A) managed to get net debt down by 1.3 billion pounds to 7.8 billion. We also heard that BT Group plc (LON:BT.A)’s broadband fiber now reaches more than half of U.K. homes and businesses, and that 1.5 million customers have signed up for it.
Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY)
Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) gained a little when the partly state-owned bank released first-quarter figures on April 30, revealing a pre-tax profit of 2.04 billion pounds — the same period a year previously brought a profit of just 280 million pounds, though that was largely due to money set aside to cover mis-sold financial products. Then over the past week, the price has powered up a further 9.3% to 59 pence, taking it to a 90% gain over the past 12 months. Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY), which currently owns 50% of Sainsbury’s Bank, is to sell that stake to J Sainsbury, which will then be the sole owner. Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) should pocket 248 million pounds from the deal.
TUI Travel PLC (LON:TT)
Travel agent TUI Travel PLC (LON:TT) got off to a good first half, telling us on Friday of a 14% improvement in its operating performance. It’s the seasonal low point and a loss was expected, but at 274 million pounds it was better by 43 million on the previous year. Net debt is down, cash flow is improved, and TUI Travel PLC (LON:TT) lifted its interim dividend by 10% to 3.75 pence. A similar rise in the final dividend should give us a yield of around 3.7%, after the share price gained 23 pence (7%) to end on 347 pence.