U.K. stocks swung between gains and losses, with the benchmark FTSE 100 (UKX) Index heading for its third consecutive weekly increase, as a report showed Britain’s economic growth last quarter met forecasts.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) rose 2.5 percent after the Bank of England unveiled measures to widen lenders’ access to funds. British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc dropped 2.8 percent after Macquarie Group Ltd. said it may face competition for the rights to broadcast Champions League soccer.
The FTSE 100 advanced 5.6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,718.78 at 2:05 p.m. in London, after closing at its highest level in almost five months yesterday. The gauge has climbed 1.4 percent this week and 14 percent so far this year. The broader FTSE All-Share Index added less than 0.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index lost 0.4 percent.
“We’ve had a good week and of course a strong year-to-date, so inevitably there is going to be some consolidation,” Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London, said in a phone interview. “We’ll get a much better view next week of how U.K. companies are doing.”
U.K. economic growth accelerated to its fastest pace in more than three years in the third quarter as the recovery continued in all major industries. Gross domestic product rose 0.8 percent, the Office for National Statistics said. That matched the median of 40 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey.
Data from Germany showed business confidence unexpectedly decreased in October. The Ifo institute’s business climate index, which is based on a survey of 7,000 executives, fell to 107.4 from 107.7 in September. The median forecast in a survey of 39 economists had called for a reading of 108.
In the U.S., a Commerce Department report showed that orders for durable goods increased 3.7 percent in September after gaining a revised 0.2 percent in August. That beat the median economist estimate compiled by Bloomberg.
RBS, which is owned by the state, rose 2.5 percent to 365.3 pence. Barclays Plc climbed 1.2 percent to 269.6 pence.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said he will overhaul the central bank’s money-market operations to cut the cost of liquidity insurance to the financial system. The BOE will expand the range of collateral it accepts in its facilities and offer money for longer periods on cheaper terms, Carney said in a speech in London late yesterday. Officials will also consider making some tools available to a wider range of institutions.
G4S Plc (GFS) climbed 2.9 percent to 260.4 pence. HSBC Holdings Plc raised its recommendation on the world’s biggest provider of security services to neutral from underweight, meaning that investors should no longer sell the shares.
BSkyB (BSY) fell 2.8 percent to 923.5 pence, its first retreat this week, as Macquarie lowered its recommendation on the stock to neutral from outperform, the equivalent of buy. BT Group Plc may compete with the U.K.’s largest pay-TV provider for the rights to broadcast Europe’s Champions League, analysts led by Guy Peddy wrote in a note.
Burberry Group Plc (BRBY), the U.K.’s biggest luxury-goods maker, declined 1.8 percent to 1,519 pence. French competitor Kering SA fell in Paris after third-quarter revenue trailed estimates amid the weakest growth in four years for the Gucci brand. Great Portland Estates Plc (GPOR), which will be in charge of replacing a mail-sorting center near London’s Oxford Street with flats and office buildings, fell 1.8 percent to 587 pence. Deutsche Bank AG reduced the shares to sell from hold following their 20 percent advance this year.
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