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U.K. Stocks Advance for Second Day; Rio Tinto Leads Gains

U.K. stocks rose for a second day, extending a three-month high, as Greece and its international creditors agreed on the need to strengthen policy efforts.

Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third-largest mining company, jumped 2.6 percent. Marks & Spencer Group Plc advanced 1.9 percent after a newspaper report that the retailer may attract a takeover bid. Centrica Plc fell after Deutsche Bank AG cut its recommendation on the utility.

The FTSE 100 Index rose 21.49, or 0.4 percent to 5,808.77 at the close of trading in London, the highest level since May 1. The measure last week gained 2.8 percent, the biggest increase since the week ended June 8. The broader FTSE All-Share Index added 0.5 percent today, and Ireland’s ISEQ Index increased 0.9 percent.

“Over in Greece, developments between the country and its international lenders have been encouraging,” Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at ETX Capital in London, wrote. “Overall, today has been rather quiet, with thinned summer trading volumes.”

The number of shares changing hands on the FTSE 100 was 21 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to Bloomberg data.

Greece and its international creditors agreed on the need to strengthen policy efforts and comply with its bailout terms after more than a week of meetings in Athens.

Greek Troika

Representatives from the so-called troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund met with Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras in Athens yesterday. The talks will determine whether Greece continues receiving funds from the country’s 240 billion euros ($297 billion) of rescue packages.

“The week has got off to a very quiet start,” said Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst at IG Index in London. “After last week’s action-packed schedule, an eerie calm has descended on London markets, as investors pause for breath.”

Rio Tinto gained 2.6 percent to 3,108 pence, contributing the most to the FTSE 100’s advance. Evraz Plc, a miner of iron ore and coal, gained 4.8 percent to 251 pence. The stock was removed from UBS AG’s least preferred list.

Marks & Spencer rose 1.9 percent to 347.7 pence, the highest since May 25. The U.K.’s largest clothing retailer has become the subject of takeover considerations, with banks in London studying the prospect of financing a private-equity bid, the Sunday Telegraph reported, without saying where it got the information. A spokeswoman for Marks & Spencer declined to comment.

Burberry Gains

Burberry Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest luxury-goods company, rose 1.9 percent to 1,330 pence. Prada SpA, the Italian fashion company that owns the Miu Miu and Church’s brands, reported first-half sales that increased 37 percent, surpassing analyst estimates amid higher demand from Asian shoppers.

Telecity Group Plc jumped 4.7 percent to 877.5 pence, the highest price since the company sold shares in 2007. The manager of Internet infrastructure reported second-quarter adjusted earnings per share that beat analyst estimates.

Catlin Group Ltd. gained 2.6 percent to 443.3 pence. The Lloyd’s of London insurer joined rivals in swinging to a first-half profit on premium rate increases and this year’s lack of natural disasters. Pretax profit was $231 million in the six months to June 30, compared with a pretax loss of $201 million in the year-earlier period, the company said.

Trinity Mirror Plc, the U.K. publisher whose sales have declined every year since 2005, soared 14 percent to 42.75 pence. The shares have rallied 38 percent since Aug. 2, when the company said business in 2012 will be better than forecast.

Centrica, the biggest power and gas supplier to U.K. homes, slid 0.9 percent to 320.6 pence. Deutsche Bank cut its recommendation on the stock to hold from buy.

QinetiQ Group Plc, the research company spun off from the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence in 2006, slipped 2.9 percent to 167 pence. The stock was cut to sell from neutral at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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