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U.K. Stocks Advance, Trimming Weekly Drop; National Grid Gains

U.K. stocks climbed for a second day after Group of Seven countries agreed to intervene in Japan’s foreign exchange market as the country battles to control a nuclear accident.

National Grid Plc led utilities higher as Credit Suisse Group AG advised buying the industry’s shares. Berkeley Group Holdings Plc rallied 3.6 percent as the U.K.’s second-largest homebuilder by market value said full-year profit will be at the high end of its expectations.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index climbed 22.02, or 0.4 percent, to 5,718.13 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, paring this week’s drop to 1.9 percent. The FTSE All-Share Index rose 0.5 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index slid 0.2 percent.

Even after two days of gains, the FTSE 100 is still 6.1 percent lower than it was on Feb. 8 when it reached this year’s highest level. The gauge has declined as political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa sent oil prices surging and Japan battled to stop its Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant from leaking radiation following the March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

“Buying the market in times of heightened risk aversion has tended to produce the largest payoff over the next 12 months,” said Graham Bishop, a European equity strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London.

Libyan Cease-Fire

Stocks across Europe extended gains as Libya said it’s ceasing all military action and will start talks with the opposition. The move came in response to United Nations Security Council approval for military action to ground the nation’s air force to protect civilians.

National Grid rose 4.4 percent to 577 pence as Credit Suisse upgraded energy-utility shares to “small overweight” from “underweight.” Centrica Plc climbed 3.2 percent to 328.5 pence as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. added the stock to its “conviction buy” list.

Berkeley Group climbed 3.6 percent to 1,040 pence, extending yesterday’s 4.6 percent rally.

Amec Plc gained 1.5 percent to 1,128 pence as Investec Plc rated the shares “buy” in new coverage.

Jupiter Fund Management Plc sank 6.4 percent to 298 pence as the U.K. fund manager that held an initial public offering in June reported full-year earnings that missed some analysts’ estimates.

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