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U.K. Stocks Gain; Randgold, Fresnillo Climb on Metals Prices

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks advanced, snapping a three-day losing streak, as gains in basic resources shares fueled by rising metals prices offset growing concern that global economic recovery is stalling.

Randgold Resources Ltd. and Fresnillo Plc increased as gold and silver prices rose. Petrofac Plc climbed after saying it will deliver profit growth of at least 15 percent this year.

The FTSE 100 rose 54.54, or 1.1 percent, to 5,095.30 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London. The FTSE All-Share Index gained 1 percent, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index added 0.8 percent.

“You’ve got the gold and silver play coming in,” said Will Hedden, a sales trader at IG Index in London. “Petrofac also is gaining and those sectors are pulling up peers. It looks like a relief rally.”

The FTSE lost 5.3 percent last week, extending its selloff from the end of June to 15 percent. More than $7 trillion has been wiped off global equity markets since July 26 as Europe’s debt crisis spilled into Italy and Spain and the U.S. had its credit rating cut by S&P.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted to shut the door on common euro-area bonds as a means to solve the debt crisis, saying that she won’t let financial markets dictate policy. Speaking in an interview with ZDF television from the chancellery in Berlin yesterday, she said bringing in euro bonds at this time would further undermine economic stability.

Randgold, a miner of the metal in West Africa, advanced 3.9 percent to 6,870 pence. Fresnillo, the world’s largest primary silver producer, added 3.5 percent to 2,039 pence. Gold rallied for a sixth day to an all-time high. Silver in New York rose to the highest price since May 3.

Gold Climb

Gold may climb the most in more than three decades this year as investors and central banks boost their holdings on concern about a slowdown in global growth.

Gold for immediate delivery may reach $2,000 an ounce by the yearend, extending this year’s gain to 41 percent, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 13 traders and analysts at a conference in Kovalam in South India on Aug. 20.

Petrofac gained 3.7 percent to 1,211 pence. Chief Executive Officer Ayman Asfari said the oil and gas engineer is on course to deliver like-for-like net profit growth of at least 15 percent this year.

Energy shares gained amid speculation the civil war in Libya may be drawing to a close. Stocks including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, gained after rebel fighters reached the capital Tripoli. The overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi’s government may allow oil producers to start fields closed by the civil war.

Shell increased 1.9 percent to 1,919 pence.

IG Sales

IG Group Holdings Plc climbed 4 percent to 409.4 pence after the owner of the IG Index financial spread-betting brand said sales for the first quarter may increase by 19 percent as more people place bets because of recent market swings. Revenue is expected to rise to more than 94 million pounds ($155 million) for the quarter ending Aug. 31, from 79.1 million pounds a year earlier.

ICAP Plc, the world’s largest broker of trades between banks, gained 3.8 percent to 425 pence.

Amlin Plc lost 3.8 percent to 310.5 pence. The biggest Lloyd’s of London insurer by market value swung to a loss of 151.7 million pounds in the first half after record claims from natural disasters in Japan, New Zealand and Australia.

Micro Focus International Plc slid 3.4 percent to 254 pence after the company said it terminated talks with possible bidders. The U.K. software provider said it’s restarting a program to buy back as many as 12.3 million shares under its existing authority.

Essar Energy Plc retreated 3.8 percent to 247.9 pence. The Indian energy company said it would take longer than expected to start up new power plants and receive regulatory approval on coal projects.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adria Cimino in Paris at acimino1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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