U.K. stocks climbed, with the benchmark FTSE 100 Index (UKX) extending last week’s advance, as technology shares and oil companies gained and a report showed U.S. consumer confidence rose more than forecast in April.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index rose 0.9 percent to 6,069.36 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London. The measure has risen 8.4 percent since hitting its 2011 low on March 16 as investors speculated that the global economic recovery will withstand Japan’s March 11 earthquake and popular revolts in the Middle East and north Africa. The FTSE All-Share Index added 0.8 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index climbed 0.7 percent.
“The earnings season is still a good argument for a rise in equity markets,” said Robert Halver, head of research at Baader Bank AG in Frankfurt. “Central banks will do everything they can to avoid problems for banks. Any kind of restrictive monetary policy is impossible as it would destroy the system.”
The Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting today and will decide whether to continue with its planned $600 billion of bond purchases through June. The U.S. central bank is also forecast to leave its target rate for overnight lending between banks at zero to 0.25 percent, according to all 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The Conference Board’s confidence index rose to 65.4 from a revised 63.8 reading in March, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted an advance to 64.5.
ARM, the designer of chips that help power Apple Inc.’s iPhone, rose 3.4 percent to 625.5 pence. Veeco, the Plainview, New York-based maker of gear for chipmakers and data storage, said it sees second-quarter orders at least 25 percent higher than in the first quarter and expects yearly revenue to be above $1 billion.
BP, which accounts for 5.6 percent of the FTSE 100 by weighting, rose 0.8 percent to 464.20 pence. Shell, Europe’s biggest oil company, added 1.2 percent to 2,290.5 pence.
Oil for June delivery fell 31 cents to $111.97 a barrel at 11:17 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have gained 33 percent in the past year. Yesterday, futures touched $113.48, the highest intraday price since Sept. 22, 2008.
Heritage Oil Plc (HOIL) surged 5.3 percent to 257.2 pence, the biggest gain in more than five weeks, as the oil explorer said it will spend as much as $100 million to buy back shares.
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