U.K. stocks rose, sending the FTSE 100 Index higher for the third time in four days, on speculation the Federal Reserve will continue to support the U.S. economy’s recovery in its policy statement later today.
BG Group Plc jumped 3.4 percent after discovering light oil off the coast of Brazil. Anglo American Plc, BHP Billiton Plc and Rio Tinto Plc led mining stocks higher as copper rebounded from the biggest drop in more than two months.
The benchmark FTSE 100 advanced 51.5, or 0.9 percent, to 5,969.21 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, erasing yesterday’s decline. The gauge has rallied 70 percent since its low in March 2009 as the Bank of England purchased 200 billion pounds ($316 billion) of assets to spur the economy. The FTSE All-Share Index and Ireland’s ISEQ Index also rose 0.9 percent today.
“The first FOMC’s meeting statement of the year later this evening will be an important event for markets,” Jim Reid, a global strategist at Deutsche Bank AG in London, wrote in a report today. “Whilst the Fed may sound more upbeat about the recent data, lingering weakness in labor markets means that existing Fed policies will remain intact.”
Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and his fellow policy makers will conclude a meeting in Washington today, having given no indication of scaling back their plans to inject $600 billion of stimulus into the financial system.
Fed watchers including Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse Group AG, say the central bank will issue a statement that acknowledges some improvement in the economy since its last meeting on Dec. 14, while reiterating that the stimulus is necessary to reduce the 9.4 percent jobless rate in the U.S.
BG Group, Vodafone
BG Group gained 3.4 percent to 1,372 pence. The U.K.’s third-largest energy producer said it discovered light oil in offshore Block BM-S-9 in the Carioca area of the Santos Basin.
Anglo American Plc gained 2.6 percent to 3,155.5 pence as copper rebounded from its biggest drop in more than two months. BHP Billiton Plc, the world’s biggest mining company, advanced 2.2 percent to 2,446 pence, while Rio Tinto Plc gained 2.6 percent to 4,400 pence.
Aggreko Plc gained 5.3 percent to 1,485 pence. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. initiated coverage of the world’s largest provider of mobile power supplies with a “buy” rating, citing potential growth “as power shortages in developing countries drive further demand for temporary power.”
BP Plc declined 1.1 percent to 491.7 pence. Europe’s second-largest oil company was accused by oil-spill victims’ lawyers of breaching civil racketeering law by engaging in acts that lead to the worst such disaster in U.S. history.