U.K. stocks closed little changed, paring earlier gains after the Bank of England left its key interest rate at a record low.
Mothercare Plc jumped the most since May 2012 after reporting quarterly results. Randgold Resources Ltd. advanced 1.5 percent as gold increased. Marks & Spencer Group Plc (MKS) dropped 3.1 percent after cutting a gross-margin forecast.
The FTSE 100 Index added 6.36 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,641.97 at the close of trading in London, following an earlier gain of as much as 0.8 percent. The gauge climbed 0.7 percent yesterday after slipping 1.6 percent in the two first days of this week. The broader FTSE All-Share Index rose 0.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index lost 0.3 percent.
“A little bit of risk is going out of the market,” Herbert Perus, who helps oversee $36 billion as head of equities at Raiffeisen Capital Management in Vienna, said in a phone interview. “The Bank of England has decided to keep rates unchanged and to carry on with the quantitative easing. Some market participants had the fear that this maybe would stop.”
The BOE kept its key interest rate at 0.5 percent today, where it’s been since March 2009. All 50 economists in a Bloomberg News survey forecast the decision. The Monetary Policy Committee also kept its asset-purchase program on hold at 375 billion pounds ($629 billion).
In the U.S., minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting released after yesterday’s U.K. market close showed that the central bank downplayed predictions by some of its policy makers that interest rates may rise faster than previously forecast. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference following last month’s meeting that they may increase about six months after the Fed halts its monthly asset purchases.
A U.S. Labor Department report showed that the number of people filing jobless claims in the world’s biggest economy fell to 300,000 in the week ended April 5, the lowest level since May 2007. Economists had forecast a decline to 320,000, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Mothercare jumped 15 percent to 187 pence after reporting a 0.3 percent drop in U.K. fourth-quarter sales. Oriel Securities Ltd. had forecast a 4 percent revenue decline.
Randgold Resources, a gold miner in Africa, advanced 1.5 percent to 4,694 pence as gold climbed to a two-week high.
Persimmon Plc gained 1.7 percent to 1,342 pence. U.K. house-price growth accelerated in March and a shortage of homes for sale will put further upward pressure on values, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Land Securities Group Plc climbed 2.9 percent to 1,045 pence.
Marks & Spencer retreated 3.1 percent to 442 pence, after earlier rising as much as 3.3 percent. The retailer said the full-year gross margin at its U.K. business probably fell by 0.2 percent.
Centrica Plc, the biggest energy supplier to U.K. households, retreated 1.2 percent to 333.7 pence. A gauge of utility companies posted the third-biggest drop among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
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