U.K.’s FTSE 100 Rallies on SABMiller Sales, AB Foods Earnings

U.K. stocks climbed for the first time in three days after SABMiller Plc reported better-than-estimated sales and Associated British Foods Plc posted a surge in first-half profit.

SABMiller, the maker of the Grolsch and Peroni beer brands, soared to a record high. AB Foods, the owner of Primark stores, rose by the highest level since at least 1986. Antofagasta Plc and Cairn Energy Plc led commodity shares higher as copper advanced from a three-week low and oil rebounded.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index climbed 55.78, or 1 percent, to 5,783.69, as all but 10 stocks rose. The FTSE All-Share Index climbed 1 percent, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index added 1.3 percent.

The FTSE 100 lost 1.7 percent in the past two days after U.S. regulators sued Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for fraud and volcanic ash from Iceland closed much of Europe’s airspace. Britain’s financial regulator said today it will begin a formal investigation of the Goldman Sachs’s London units.

“You would have to say that overall investor sentiment remains fairly healthy,” said Keith Bowman, a London-based equity strategist at Hargreaves Lansdown. “We continue to see hurdles put in the way of the market, but any sort of weakness does seem to bring out the buyers.”

SABMiller climbed 4.5 percent to 1,996 pence, the highest level since it started trading in London in 1999. The company said beer volume excluding acquisitions or disposals rose 2 percent in the three months through March, the first increase in more than a year. Analysts were expecting a 1 percent decline, according to the median of 11 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

AB Foods Advances

AB Foods soared 5.9 percent to 1,015 pence, the highest since at least 1986, after the company reported a 79 percent increase in first-half net income to 249 million pounds ($381 million) as Chinese sugar prices increased and customers demanded more baking goods.

Antofagasta, owner of copper mines in Chile, gained 1.6 percent to 999 pence as a measure of mining shares rebounded with copper from a three-day sell off. Anglo American Plc climbed 1.1 percent to 2,870 pence.

Separately, an executive at Poongsan Corp., Asia’s biggest maker of copper products, said the company has raised its sales target for this year by 2.4 percent as China’s economic growth spurs consumption.

Cairn Energy rallied 3.2 percent to 491.5 pence as crude oil rose for the first time in four days in New York. Royal Dutch Shell Plc gained 1.3 percent to 2,010 pence and BP Plc climbed 2 percent to 655.4 pence.

Oil rallied as much as 2.3 percent as European airspace gradually began reopening, restoring some demand for jet fuel six days after a volcanic eruption in Iceland stymied air travel across the continent.

Separately, Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation for global energy stocks to “overweight.”

The following stocks either rose of fell in the U.K. and Irish markets. Stock symbols are in parentheses.

Glanbia Plc (GLB ID) rallied 25 cents, or 8.2 percent, to 3.30 euros in Dublin after the company agreed to sell its Irish dairy unit to Glanbia Co-operative Society Ltd. for about 343 million euros ($462 million) to focus on its international nutritional ingredients and cheese businesses.

Reed Elsevier Plc (REL LN) gained 6.5 pence, or 1.2 percent, to 533 after the publisher of Variety magazine reaffirmed its outlook.

Tesco Plc (TSCO LN), Britain’s biggest retailer, retreated 6.45 pence, or 1.5 percent, to 431 as analysts said international earnings missed estimates.

“Tesco have had a slight miss on each of the international profit divisions,” which includes Europe, Asia and the U.S., Christopher Hogbin, an analyst at Bernstein Research, said. “The balance sheet was very positive, with debt down and the outlook pretty upbeat.”

Thorntons Plc (THT LN) sank 14.75 pence, or 12 percent, to 110.25, the biggest drop since 2004. The chocolate maker said it had disappointing Easter sales at its own outlets, with revenue at stores open at least a year falling 4.6 percent in the fiscal third quarter.

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