Equity IncomeAug 16 2017

FTSE 100 to provide inflation-busting yield in 2017

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FTSE 100 to provide inflation-busting yield in 2017
ByDavid Thorpe

Income investors could be in for a bumper 2017 as a result of the interim dividends announced so far by FTSE 100 companies, according to Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

He said: “Just under 60 FTSE 100 firms have a December year-end and therefore update investors on their first-half of trading in either July or August.

“So far, 53 members of the UK’s corporate elite have done so and only two – Pearson and Admiral – have cut their interim dividend pay-out (excluding special dividends).

“Despite these cuts, overall FTSE 100 dividend growth excluding special dividends has reached 15 per cent at the first half stage, with results from Antofagasta, Bunzl, Persimmon and WPP still to come this month.

“Substantial increases from a handful of miners and a number of financial services plays have helped here, as has the pound’s drop against the euro and dollar, which enhanced the sterling contribution from heavyweights such as BP, Shell, HSBC and Unilever.”

He noted that 26 FTSE 100 companies have increased their interim dividend by at least 10 per cent so far this year.

The yield on the FTSE All Share right now is 3.5 per cent.

Mr Mould said: “This puts the index on track to meet the aggregate consensus analysts’ estimate of a 15 per cent increase in dividend payments from the FTSE 100 for the year as a whole.

UK inflation data released on 16 August revealed the current rate to be 2.6 per cent.

If FTSE 100 dividends are higher than that, it represents real income growth for investors..   

Job Curtis, who runs the £1.5bn City of London Investment Trust, which has increased its dividend for each of the past 51 years, said the mining sector has been a particular source of dividend growth so far this year.

Mr Curtis said: “The best performing major sector was mining where commodity prices have benefited from the robust economic growth in China.

"Mining companies have been generating significant levels of cash, reducing debt and restoring dividends. Additions were made to City of London’s existing holdings of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton and a new holding was bought in Anglo American on above average dividend yields.”

Eric Moore, who runs the £190m Miton Income fund, said he expected dividend growth for this year and next to come from the UK banks.

He particularly highlighted Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which he expects to start paying a dividend next year after its recent return to profit, and Lloyds Banking Group, where he expects the continue to be able to increase dividends as regulatory pressures ease.