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U.K. Stocks Rebound on WPP, Man Group Earnings, Manufacturing Expansion

U.K. stocks advanced, rebounding from yesterday’s selloff, as WPP (WPP) Plc forecast higher revenue, and U.K. manufacturing expanded in February, adding to signs that the economy hasn’t slipped back into recession.

WPP gained 3 percent, while Man Group Plc jumped 13 percent after it reported an increase in assets. Cable & Wireless Worldwide Plc surged 15 percent after Tata Communications Ltd. said it may make a cash offer.

The FTSE 100 Index gained 1 percent to 5,931.25 at the close in London. The gauge lost 1 percent yesterday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke damped speculation of further measures to stimulate growth. The FTSE All-Share Index rose 1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index also added 1 percent.

“There are a number of positives today: WPP has had a very strong year, which augurs well for the future and Man Group (EMG) are starting to recover some of the business they recently lost,” said Richard Hunter, head of U.K. equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London. “There seems to be a recognition now that Bernanke didn’t really say anything new yesterday and is very much keeping an eye on the situation.”

U.K. manufacturing expanded for a second month in February, according to a survey by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. The factory gauge fell to 51.2 from 52.0 in January, Markit said on its website today. The figure was below the median forecast of 52 in a Bloomberg News survey of 26 economists. Separate U.S. data showed jobless claims dropped to a four year-low last week, adding to evidence the labor market is recovering.

WPP Gains

WPP climbed 3 percent to 827.50 pence after the largest advertising agency said revenue from continuing businesses will grow 4 percent this year as the London Olympics and U.S. presidential elections buoy the industry.

Sales last year rose 7.4 percent to 10 billion pounds ($16 billion), the Dublin-based company said. A Bloomberg survey predicted revenue of 9.96 billion pounds.

Man Group jumped 13 percent to 147.50 pence after the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund manager said outflows slowed and assets under management rose 1.9 percent in the first two months of 2012, stemming last year’s decline.

Cable & Wireless Worldwide

Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CW/) rallied 15 percent to 31.98 pence. The shares surged as much as 18 percent after Tata Communications said it may make a cash offer and could decide on a transaction by the end of the month.

Talks are “at a very preliminary stage,” and are part of the company’s review of acquisition opportunities, Mumbai-based Tata said.

Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ) paced declining shares, falling 4.2 percent to 1,062 pence after Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer said costs will increase as much as 58 percent for each pound of the metal it manufactures as it expands mining to counter the effect of falling ore grades.

The company today reported a 1.6 percent increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in 2011 to $1.96 billion.

Weir Group Plc (WEIR) dropped 3.6 percent to 2,030 pence. The world’s biggest maker of pumps for the mining industry reiterated its intention to buy Ludowici Ltd. after FLSmidth & Co. A/S made a higher bid.

The Scottish company offered A$10 a share on Feb. 23 for Ludowici, matching an offer by FLSmidth. The Danish company raised its price to A$11 a share, which the Australian Takeovers Panel allowed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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