U.K. stocks rose for a second day after a report on American consumer confidence and leading economic indicators rose more than forecast.
Barclays Plc advanced 3.6 percent, following European lenders higher, amid continued speculation that the governments of the euro area will soon agree to disburse the first tranche of a 100 billion-euro ($123 billion) bailout to Spain’s most debt-stricken banks.
The FTSE 100 Index climbed 17.91 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,852.42 at the close in London. The equity benchmark rose for a third week, gaining 0.1 percent. The broader FTSE All-Share Index added 0.4 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index rose 1.1 percent.
“Investors seem content to think that the European Central Bank is readying something fairly impressive with a view to using it sometime in September,” said Will Hedden, a sales trader at IG Index in London. “This narrative has swept all before it so far in August, helped along by the perception that the Federal Reserve is also tiptoeing closer to more stimulus.”
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary August index of consumer sentiment increased to 73.6, the highest level since May, from 72.3 in July. The median forecast of 72 economists surveyed by Bloomberg had called for a reading of 72.2. A separate release showed that a measure of leading economic indicators gained 0.4 percent in July. Economists had projected the gauge would rise 0.2 percent, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, speaking in Canada yesterday, backed the European Central Bank’s requirement for conditions to help reduce borrowing costs in indebted countries. Merkel said Germany is “in line” with the ECB’s approach to defend the euro.
Barclays rose 3.6 percent to 192.85 pence, gaining for a second day. A gauge of bank shares contributed the most to the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s advance today. Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc gained 1.9 percent to 231.6 pence and 3.7 percent to 34.22 pence, respectively.
Chipmaker ARM Holdings Plc led technology stocks higher, adding 1.2 percent to 582.5 pence.
Ophir Energy Plc, a U.K gas explorer in Africa, increased 4 percent to 531.5 pence. The stock was raised to buy from neutral at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Lonmin Plc fell 1.3 percent to 639.5 pence, after earlier dropping as much as 8.6 percent. South African police killed 34 striking workers at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum-mining complex yesterday, the worst death toll by the police since the end of apartheid in 1994.
Travis Perkins Plc, the U.K. builders’ merchant that owns the Wickes home-improvement chain, slipped 0.9 percent to 1,050 pence. The stock was downgraded to neutral from outperform at Credit Suisse Group AG, meaning that investors should not buy more of the shares.