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Telstra hits 8-year high as ASX falls

The S&P / ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has fallen 0.5% to 5,166.2, after commodities prices fell overnight, and Chinese manufacturing activity slowed in April, in a sign of further weakness in Australia’s largest trade partner. Oil and copper both fell, while gold slipped too.

The Australian dollar is flat against the US dollar, fetching 103.6 cents, despite weak China manufacturing data.

These three stocks were the best performers in the top 20.

Telstra Corporation (ASX: TLS) climbed past the $5 mark on its way to %5.03, a rise of 1%, after the telco confirmed it aimed to lift dividends over time. Deputy CFO Mark Hall told a conference today that the company expects to pay a fully franked dividend of 28 cents in fiscal 2013, in line with prior years. The company also reported that it had added an astonishing 600,000 4G devices in less than three months, cementing its lead as our leading mobile network operator.

Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX: WBC) climbed 0.8% to close at $34.06, as investors continue to pile into the banks on the back of their dividend yields. Currently paying a dividend yield of 5.2%, before franking credits, investors may be hoping Westpac follows in ANZ Bank’s shoes and raises its dividend. Westpac is expected to report its half-year results this Friday, May 3.

AMP Limited (ASX: AMP) rose 0.6% to close at $5.43, continuing its strong gains. In the last twelve months AMP has risen 28%, compared to the ASX 200’s rise of 18.4%. One of a number of large cap, so-called ‘blue chip’ stocks, AMP is in demand for its dividend, currently around 5%, franked to 65%. Exposure to Australia’s $1.5 trillion and growing superannuation savings as a wealth manager doesn’t hurt its future prospects either.

With its legendary, fully franked 28 cent dividend, Telstra is the darling of Aussie investors. Chances are even if you don’t own Telstra shares directly, your superannuation fund does. But with its share price skyrocketing over the past year, is Telstra past its prime? Click here for our brand-new report: Buy, Sell, or Hold Telstra?

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The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead.  This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in Telstra.

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