U.K. stocks advanced, with the FTSE 100 Index heading for its longest streak of monthly gains since 1997, as reports showed durable-goods orders and house prices in the U.S. climbed more than estimated.
Aberdeen Asset Management Plc rose 4 percent after UBS AG increased its estimate for the company’s full-year earnings. Schroders Plc advanced 1.9 percent after Oriel Securities Ltd. raised its recommendation on the shares. Kazakhmys Plc plunged to its lowest price in almost four years after posting a full-year loss.
The FTSE 100 Index added 20.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,399.37 at the close in London. The gauge has gained 8.5 percent so far this year as U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget and reports on jobs and housing fueled optimism the world’s biggest economy is recovering. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also gained 0.3 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index lost 0.3 percent.
“We have had good data pointing to a recovery in the first quarter,” said Manish Singh, who helps manage $2 billion as head of investment at Crossbridge Capital in London. “Housing data is on an upward climb and set to continue. The question is whether it will continue into the summer.”
In the U.S., a Commerce Department report showed that orders for durable goods rose 5.7 percent in February, after dropping a revised 3.8 percent in January. Economists had forecast that goods intended to last for at least three years would climb 3.9 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey.
A separate release showed that house prices in 20 American cities surged 8.1 percent in the 12 months through January, the largest increase since June 2006. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast 7.9 percent.
In the U.K., the Financial Services Authority plans to cut in half the time it takes new banks to get approval and the amount of capital they need to hold, according to a person familiar with the changes. The FSA will hand over supervision of banks to the Prudential Regulation Authority next week.
Aberdeen Asset Management rallied 4 percent to 428.4 pence after UBS increased its estimates for earnings in 2013 and 2014, citing better-than-expected flows into high-margin equity funds and stronger performance in the two months ended February.
Schroders added 1.9 percent to 2,130 pence as Oriel raised its recommendation on Europe’s biggest publicly traded money manager to add from hold, meaning investors should buy more of the shares. The brokerage said Schroders’ acquisition of Cazenove Capital Holdings Ltd. will increase earnings per share by 7 percent.
Kazakhmys plunged 8.6 percent to 405.3 pence, its lowest price since April 2009, after posting a full-year net loss of $2.27 billion and cutting its dividend. Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer wrote down its 26 percent stake in Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. after the value of its holding decreased to $2.03 billion from $4.6 billion. ENRC retreated 3 percent to 260 pence.
Wolseley Plc, the world’s largest distributor of plumbing and heating products, slipped 1.2 percent to 3,173 pence after Chief Executive Officer Ian Meakins said in a statement that the company expects weak market conditions in Europe.