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U.K. Stocks Gain for Second Day; Man Group Leads FTSE 100 Higher

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks advanced for a second day as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s ruling party split over his announcement of a referendum on the euro region’s bailout package.

Man Group Plc rose 4.6 percent as the largest publicly traded hedge-fund manager reported a smaller-than-forecast decline in profit. Unilever slid 2 percent after the world’s second-biggest consumer-goods company said profitability might fall this year.

The benchmark FTSE 100 Index climbed 32.02, or 0.6 percent, to 5,516.12 at 12:39 p.m. in London. The gauge has still retreated 3.3 percent this week. The FTSE All-Share Index also rose 0.6 percent and Ireland’s ISEQ advanced 1.4 percent.

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos led lawmakers opposed to Papandreou’s decision to call a referendum after European leaders meeting in Cannes last night cut off aid to Greece. Papandreou will offer to resign today, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing sources in Athens.

The FTSE 100 has fallen 7 percent this year as Europe’s sovereign debt crisis threatened to spread. The U.K. is still the best performing equity market in western Europe, except for Iceland, as investors favored companies that are less dependent on the region for sales.

Man, Unilever

Man Group rose 4.6 percent to 147.8 pence. The hedge-fund manager reported a smaller-than-forecast decline in pretax profit in the fiscal first half as the European debt crisis roiled markets.The company said it will buy back $150 million of shares by the end of the year.

Unilever slid 2 percent to 2,030 pence. The consumer-goods company said profitability might fall this year even after it increased prices to mitigate soaring costs for the commodities used to make its products.

BT Group Plc gained 3.1 percent to 193.2 pence as the U.K.’s largest Internet service provider reported second-quarter operating profit that beat analysts’ estimates, helped by its Global Services unit and more broadband subscribers.

Tate & Lyle Plc rallied 3.6 percent to 670 pence after the maker of low-calorie sweetener Splenda said fiscal first-half earnings beat estimates. Adjusted operating profit added 19 percent to 194 million pounds, beating the average projection of 188 million pounds from six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in London at ahaigh1@bloomberg.net

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

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