U.K. stocks advanced, with the FTSE 100 Index (UKX) gaining for a third straight week, as higher metals prices lifted mining shares.
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the world’s biggest mining company, and Rio Tinto Group, the third-largest, climbed more than 2 percent. Scottish & Southern Energy Plc (SSE), the U.K.’s second-biggest power producer, rose 2.3 percent.
The benchmark FTSE 100 gained 48.38, or 0.8 percent, to 6,055.75 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, for a 0.8 percent increase this week. The measure had rallied 5.1 percent over the previous two weeks as U.S. jobs data boosted optimism that the economic recovery is quickening. The FTSE All-Share Index (ASX) rose 0.8 percent and Ireland’s ISEQ Index slid 0.1 percent today.
U.K. stocks retreated in the final hour of trading yesterday as Japan was hit by the biggest aftershock since the day of the March 11 earthquake. The magnitude-7.1 tremor struck at 11:32 p.m. local time near the epicenter of last month’s quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
“After a weak close on Thursday, following another earthquake in Japan, blue-chips have bounced back strongly as it became clear this was not as bad as first feared,” Anthony Grech, head of research at IG Index in London, wrote. “There are gains across a broad brush of sectors with miners the most prominent as various commodities continue to strengthen.”
The cost of goods at factory gates increased 0.9 percent from February, taking the annual gain to 5.4 percent, the highest since October 2008, the Office for National Statistics said today in London.
BHP Billiton advanced 2.7 percent to 2,585.5 pence and Rio Tinto rose 3.2 percent to 4,524 pence. Anglo American Plc (AAL) climbed 3.9 percent to 3,344 pence. Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ), Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer, added 1.9 percent to 1,489 pence. Fresnillo Plc (FRES), the world’s largest primary silver producer, jumped 2.4 percent to 1,646 pence.
Copper, lead, nickel and tin all increased in London trading. Basic-resource shares in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1.9 percent, the biggest climb among the gauge’s 19 industry groups.
Scottish & Southern rose 2.3 percent to 1,312 pence. The company’s profits will probably increase as aging U.K. coal-and gas-fired power plants close, driving up retail power prices, according to Credit Suisse Group AG analysts.
Games Workshop Group Plc (GAW) jumped 13 percent to 417.5 pence. The maker of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop battle game said pretax profit in the year ending May 29 will probably exceed analysts’ estimates. The company also declared a 20 pence dividend.
ICAP Plc (IAP), a U.K. interdealer broker, sank 3.9 percent to 519 pence. The stock was cut to “underperform” from “neutral” at Credit Suisse.
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