U.K. Stocks Little Changed After 10-Day Rise; Aviva Gains

U.K. stocks were little changed, after the benchmark FTSE 100 Index (UKX) yesterday rallied to its highest level since October 2007 and completed its longest streak of gains in almost four years.

Aviva Plc advanced the most in more than eight months after reporting an 18 percent increase in the value of new business. National Grid (NG/) Plc fell the most in a month after the owner of Britain’s power-distribution network said U.S. storms cut operating profit by about 136 million pounds.

The FTSE 100 Index gained 6.71 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,700.26 at 9:58 a.m. in London. The equity benchmark completed the longest streak of gains since July 2009 yesterday, and has surged 14 percent this year as central banks maintained stimulus measures. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also added 0.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index gained 0.3 percent.

“As long as the stimulus keeps coming, then you’ve got to be in there,” Lucy Macdonald, chief investment officer for equities at Allianz Global Investors in London, told Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television. “Although there’s certainly a bubbly feeling occurring, when you look at the absolute valuations against history, they’re not wildly out of line.”

The volume of shares changing hands in FTSE 100 companies was 19 percent higher than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

U.S. Housing

In the U.S., Britain’s biggest trading partner, housing starts fell to a 970,000 annual rate in April, after jumping in March to a 1.04 million pace, economists said before a report. The Commerce Department will release the data at 8:30 a.m. in Washington.

Aviva (AV/) rose 4.5 percent to 337.6 pence. The value of new business rose to 191 million pounds ($290 million) in the first quarter, from 162 million pounds a year earlier, the London-based insurer said.

Thomas Cook Group Plc (TCG) jumped 7.9 percent to 156.1 pence, the highest price in two years. The U.K. tour operator said it plans to refinance 1.6 billion pounds as it seeks to extend the maturity of its debt and cut borrowings.

National Grid lost 1.8 percent to 829 pence. U.S. storms including Hurricane Sandy cut operating profit by about 136 million pounds, the company said. That compares to an initial November forecast of as much as 100 million pounds, before the February snow storm known as Nemo.

Synthomer (SYNT) Plc tumbled 10 percent to 201.7 pence after the maker of nitrile latex said demand in Europe was weaker in March and April than forecast, and it remains “cautious” about the outlook for the year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sofia Horta e Costa in London at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net

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

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