U.K. stocks advanced, with the benchmark FTSE 100 Index (UKX) heading for its biggest weekly rally since November, on optimism that central banks around the world will continue to support their economies.
Invensys Plc (ISYS) surged 14 percent after saying Schneider Electric SA offered about 3.3 billion pounds ($5 billion) to acquire the company. Phoenix Group Holdings (PHNX) jumped 4.4 percent after saying it is in talks to combine with Swiss Re Ltd.’s Admin Re unit. Prudential Plc (PRU) gained 1 percent after Nomura Holdings Inc. advised investors to buy the shares.
The FTSE 100 Index rose 23.11 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,566.52 at 9:18 a.m. in in London. The gauge has rallied 3 percent so far this week. The FTSE All-Share Index climbed 0.3 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index gained 0.4 percent.
European Central Bank executive-board member Vitor Constancio said Europe needs accommodative monetary policy for a longer period as it trails the U.S. in economic recovery and inflation risks.
ECB’s pledge to keep interest rates low has been “successful in stabilizing financial markets unduly affected by spillovers from the recent Fed announcement of future tapering of quantitative easing,” he said in a speech in Singapore.
Stocks rallied around the world yesterday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the central bank’s policy would remain “highly accommodative.” The Bank of Japan also indicated this week it will maintain stimulus. The European Central Bank and Bank of England said last week they will keep key interest rates low for the foreseeable future.
The number of shares trading hands in FTSE 100-listed companies was 7.9 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
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