LONDON -- One of the most popular funds tracking the FTSE 100 , the iShares FTSE 100 exchange-traded fund, announced its latest dividend today.

The payout confirmed that aggregate dividends from Britain's 100 largest companies continue to advance following the widespread cuts seen during the banking crash. However, the current aggregate dividend from the FTSE 100 index remains a fraction below the level seen prior to the recession.

Today's 2.98 pence-per-share payout now means the iShares FTSE 100 ETF has declared dividends of 20.59 pence per share during the last 12 months -- up 11% on the preceding 12 months.


As the next table shows, that 20.59 pence figure is 4% below the iShares FTSE 100 ETF's all-time dividend peak, which was reached a few years ago:

12 Months to February

iShares FTSE 100 dividend (pence per share)

2007

17.56

2008

19.43

2009

21.56

2010

16.07

2011

15.68

2012

18.55

2013

20.59

Source: iShares.com; Bloomberg.

Recent dividends from the iShares FTSE 100 may have been bolstered by good results from major blue-chip shares. Indeed, members of the FTSE 100 raising their payouts of late include ARM Holdings, with a 29% advance; Smith & Nephew, with a 50% dividend advance; and Randgold Resources, with a 25% advance.

The possibility of better returns
While index trackers such as the iShares FTSE 100 are a great way to capture the long-term collective power of British companies and the stock market, there are always individual shares that have better dividend records -- and could deliver better returns -- than the wider index.

Right now, the iShares FTSE 100 trades around 627 pence and therefore presents today's buyers with a 3.3% yield -- a reasonable, if not spectacular, income. However, one individual-share alternative has a better dividend record than the FTSE 100 since 2007.

12 Months to February

Dividend From Alternative (pence per share)

2007

26.80

2008

29.50

2009

33.94

2010

36.65

2011

37.74

2012

37.40

2013

39.84

And at its current price of about 700 pence, this alternative share yields much more than the iShares FTSE 100 -- a mighty 5.7%, in fact.

Indeed, one top analyst at The Motley Fool calculates the fair value of the alternative share could be 850 pence -- and has even declared the company to be his "Top Income Stock of 2013." If you wish to know more about this 5.7% yielder, simply click here and enjoy a new Fool special report -- it's 100% free.

The article A Quick Check on Your FTSE 100 Dividends originally appeared on Fool.com.

Maynard does not own any share mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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