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U.K. Stocks Rally Most Since May 2010; BHP Billiton Advances

U.K. stocks climbed the most since May 2010, with the benchmark FTSE 100 Index rebounding from a 13-month low, as mining companies advanced.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, climbed 5.4 percent. Aquarius Platinum Ltd. gained 8.6 percent after earnings beat analysts’ estimates. Hays Plc, the U.K.’s biggest recruitment company, rose 3.9 percent as UBS AG advised buying the shares.

The FTSE 100 gained 3.1 percent to 5,162.83 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, having earlier fallen as much as 1.3 percent. The FTSE All-Share Index advanced 3 percent, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index climbed 1.7 percent.

The FTSE 100 had declined 16 percent from the beginning of July through yesterday, wiping more than $566 billion from the value of U.K. shares, on speculation that Europe will fail to contain its sovereign-debt crisis and that the U.S. economic recovery is faltering. The slump has pushed down the gauge’s price-to-earnings ratio to 9.1 times the estimated earnings of its constituent companies, below the average multiple of 11.5 over the last five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“I’ve been putting money to work, gently,” said Piers Hillier, chief investment officer at Liverpool Victoria Asset Management Ltd., which manages 8 billion pounds ($13 billion) “Incrementally adding here is a sensible thing,” he said in a Bloomberg Television interview. He is “overweight” in developed-market equities.

BHP Billiton, Aquarius

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, gained 5.4 percent to 1,966 pence as aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin and zinc rallied in London.

Aquarius Platinum Ltd. gained 8.6 percent to 235.6 pence. The miner of platinum and palladium in South Africa and Zimbabwe reported full-year underlying earnings that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Hays gained 3.9 percent to 75.5 pence. The stock was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at UBS and raised to “neutral” from “underweight” at HSBC Holdings Plc.

Anglo Pacific Group Plc rallied 8.9 percent to 280 pence after posting record first-half royalty income of 16.4 million pounds, compared with 15.7 million pounds a year earlier. The company increased its interim dividend by 7.6 percent to 4.25 pence a share.

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