U.K. Shares Gain After Weekly Advance; AstraZeneca Jumps

U.K. stocks rose, after two straight weekly increases, led by a surge in AstraZeneca Plc.

AstraZeneca jumped 14 percent after Pfizer Inc. confirmed its continued interest in taking it over. Shire Plc gained 1.9 percent. BG Group Plc lost 4.2 percent after its chief executive officer resigned.

The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) advanced 17.58 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,703.27 at 9:04 a.m. in London. The gauge rose 0.9 percent last week. The benchmark index is still down 2.4 percent since reaching a 14-year high on Feb. 24 amid tension between Russia and Ukraine. The broader FTSE All-Share Index climbed 0.2 percent, and Ireland’s ISEQ Index added 0.6 percent.

The U.S. and European Union will impose new sanctions as early as today on Russian companies and individuals close to President Vladimir Putin over the escalating crisis in Ukraine, officials said. Representatives of the 28 European Union nations will meet today to widen a list of people subject to asset freezes and travel bans, an official from the bloc said.

A U.S. report at 10 a.m. in Washington may show contracts to buy previously owned homes increased 0.7 percent in March, economists projected. They fell for eight straight months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morgan in Frankfurt at jmorgan157@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net

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