3 of the Biggest Dividends in the UK

07/05/2013 7:00 am EST


The recent correction has pushed the dividend yields even higher for three FTSE-traded stocks. But are they good buys in today's market? David O'Hara of The Motley Fool UK shares his analysis.

This has been one of the highest-yielding shares in the FTSE-100 for some time. Anyone buying Resolution (London: RSL) at the end of 2012, when the shares were trading at 248p, got an 8.5% yield.

So far this year, the shares have advanced 13.2%. Even though the dividend is expected to rise, the increased share price has pushed the prospective yield down to "just" 7.8%.

Sound too good to be true? Unfortunately, while the dividend at Resolution represents a massive yield, earnings coverage looks perilously thin. This means that any slip in trading and the dividend could be cut.

However, strong earnings growth is expected for 2014, with just a modest uptick in the dividend. This should help secure the payout into the future.

A special dividend paid in 2012 saw Vodafone (VOD) overtake Shell (RDS-B) as the FTSE-100's biggest cash payer. That special dividend came from the contribution made by Vodafone's US operations.

While the special payout won't be repeated this year, Vodafone has been buying back its own shares in the market. This should help the telecom giant to grow per-share dividends in the future.

Vodafone paid 10.2p in dividends last year. The consensus analyst expectation is that this will reach 10.6p this year, before edging up to 10.8p the year after. At today's share price, that means Vodafone offers a yield of 5.6%, rising to 5.7% next year.

Earnings per share is expected to edge ahead also, making dividends around two-thirds of expected profits.

Admiral Group
Like any insurer, the company does not have great visibility over short-term earnings. Admiral (London: ADM), has declared a portion of previous dividends to be "special." This gives the company room to cut or increase the total payout depending on trading conditions.

The 2012 payment was split between 42.7p of normal dividends and 47.9p special, or 90.6p total. According to the consensus of broker forecasts, Admiral is expected to pay a total of 91.8p in dividends for 2013. If this payment comes through, the yield on the shares today is a hefty 7.0%.

But even if 2013 is a particularly bad year for Admiral, shareholders could still expect to receive a dividend payout over 3%.

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