U.K. Stocks Advance; International Power Leads Gains

U.K. stocks advanced, rebounding from four consecutive weeks of losses, as gains in International Power Plc overshadowed declines in bank shares.

International Power jumped 3.2 percent after GDF Suez SA raised its offer to buy the 30 percent stake in the company that it doesn’t already own. Lloyds Banking Group Plc led a drop in financial stocks as Spanish bond yields rose to a four-month high.

The FTSE 100 Index increased 0.3 percent to 5,666.28 at the close in London. The benchmark gauge has still lost 5 percent since its 2012 high on March 16. The broader FTSE All-Share Index climbed 0.2 percent, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index added 0.3 percent.

“The market is making a pause after last week’s declines,” said Bruno Ducros, a fund manager at CamGestion in Paris, which oversees about $4 billion in stocks. “All the better, but I’m not sure it will last. We expect volatility until Spain’s bond sale on Thursday.”

Spain will sell 2014 bonds with a 3.3 percent coupon and 2022 bonds with 5.85 percent coupon on Thursday.

European stocks dropped for a fourth week last week, the longest streak of losses since August, as concern resurfaced about the region’s debt crisis and economic reports in China and the U.S. missed estimates.

Stocks gained today after a report showed U.S. retail sales rose more than forecast in March. The 0.8 percent gain the consumer reading exceeded the 0.3 percent advance projected in a Bloomberg survey and followed a revised 1 percent increase in February, Commerce Department figures showed.

GDF Suez Offer

International Power advanced 3.2 percent to 416.8 pence. GDF Suez, Europe’s biggest utility by market value, agreed to buy the remaining 30 percent stake in the company for 6.4 billion pounds ($10 billion). The revised bid of 418 pence a share is 7 percent more than an earlier offer of 390 pence that was rejected as too low this month.

Lloyds lost 3.4 percent to 29.71 pence. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc retreated 3.1 percent to 24.27 pence.

Spain’s 10-year yield advanced to 6.07 percent. It earlier reached 6.16 percent, the most since Dec. 1. European and U.S. equities sank on April 13 after Spanish benchmark yields edged toward 6 percent, reigniting concern that the euro area’s debt crisis will worsen. China also reported economic growth the same day that slowed more than forecast. Asian stocks extended the global selloff today.

Diageo, Croda

Diageo Plc, the world’s biggest liquor maker, rallied 1.6 percent to 1,543.5 pence. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. recommended buying the stock.

Croda International Plc, the world’s second-largest maker of cosmetic ingredients, climbed 2.7 percent to 2,190 pence. Berenberg Bank AG advised buying the shares before the publication of quarterly results.

Oxford BioMedica Plc jumped 41 percent to 5.8 pence, climbing for a third day in London after the U.K. company said the ProSavin treatment for Parkinson’s disease met the main goal of a clinical trial.

The Phase I/II clinical trial assessed the safety, efficacy and dosing of the treatment, Oxford, England-based Oxford BioMedica said.

Aquarius Platinum Ltd. slid 4.6 percent to 129.5 pence. The producer of the metal in southern Africa fell as Zimbabwe ordered mining companies to reapply for exploration rights.

Zimbabwe ordered 469 local and foreign companies to refile applications for exploration rights that detail their holding, proof of funding and technical capacity.

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