U.K. Stocks Advance, Halting Two-Day Decline

U.K. stocks advanced, halting a two-day decline, as investors awaited the Christmas holiday and the end-of-year deadline for American politicians to agree on a new federal budget.

Vedanta Resources Plc climbed 1.9 percent, posting the biggest gain on the FTSE 100. CRH Plc fell 2 percent.

The FTSE 100 added 14.19 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,954.18 at the close of trading in London. U.K. markets closed at 12:30 p.m. today. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also increased 0.2 percent. Ireland’s ISEQ Index slid 0.4 percent.

“Both sides have got a lot to lose,” Richard Scrope, a fund manager at Oriel Asset Management LLP in London, said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Caroline Hyde. “Both of them know that not having some sort of deal by the end of the year is too much of a catastrophe for the U.S. economy, so there will be some sort of deal.”

The volume of shares changing hands in FTSE 100 companies was 43 percent lower than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Time is running out for U.S. Republicans and President Barack Obama to agree on a budget deal to avoid triggering more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts in January, Senator Joseph Lieberman said yesterday. The odds are that both parties won’t be able to reach an agreement in the lower house, Lieberman, a retiring Connecticut independent, told CNN. Senate leaders must now take charge of resolving the stalemate, he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

Monti Resigns

In Europe, Mario Monti resigned as prime minister on Dec. 21. He also said he won’t run in the country’s elections on Feb. 24-25, though he would consider being the candidate for a coalition backing his economic agenda.

In the U.K., house prices fell for a sixth month in December, Hometrack Ltd. said. Prices in England and Wales slipped 0.1 percent, the same as in November, the property researcher said today. It added that the decline will extend into 2013 as the British remain reluctant to borrow.

Vedanta Resources, the Indian oil and metal producer controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, gained 1.9 percent to 1,174 pence. Fresnillo Plc, the world’s biggest silver producer, rose 1.2 percent to 1,895 pence.

CRH, the world’s second-largest maker of construction materials, decreased 2 percent to 1,231 pence, following a three-day advance.

Carnival slid 1.4 percent to 2,407 pence. The world’s biggest cruise-line operator has slipped 5.4 percent since Dec. 19, the day before the company forecast profit for 2013 that fell short of analysts’ estimates.

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