May 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks advanced for a second day as the benchmark FTSE 100 Index closed at its highest level since September 2000.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc rose 4.5 percent as Numis Securities Ltd. advised buying the shares. EasyJet Plc jumped 4 percent after Ryanair Holdings Plc posted a 13 percent increase in full-year profit. Ryanair, Europe’s largest discount airline, soared to a record in Dublin. FirstGroup Plc plunged 30 percent after omitting a dividend payment and announcing a share sale.
The FTSE 100 added 32.57 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,755.63 at the close in London. The gauge climbed 1.5 percent last week and has surged 15 percent so far this year, boosted by central-bank stimulus. The broader FTSE All-Share Index gained 0.4 percent today for a 13th straight advance., its longest since 1987. Ireland’s ISEQ Index increased 1.5 percent to the highest level since September 2008.
“This is a low-conviction rally and there’s probably going to be a second phase in the rally,” Marino Valensise, who oversees about $60 billion as chief investment officer at Baring Asset Management Ltd. in London, told Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television. “We like the U.K. because it’s a global market and exposes the portfolio to global emerging markets at a cheap price and through a London listing, which is probably more comfortable for a lot of investors.”
U.K. home sellers raised asking prices for a fifth consecutive month in May, pushing values to a record and giving the market its best start to a year since 2004. Prices sought gained 2.1 percent to an average 249,841 pounds ($380,000), property-website operator Rightmove said today.
RBS rose 4.5 percent to 351.9 pence, the highest in almost three months, as Numis upgraded the stock to buy from hold. Analyst Michael Trippitt said the lender’s U.S. retail and commercial-banking franchise is undervalued.
EasyJet jumped 4 percent to 1,235 pence, extending this year’s advance to 61 percent. Aer Lingus Group Plc, which is 30 percent owned by Ryanair, increased 5.3 percent to 1.59 euros in Ireland. A gauge of travel and leisure companies in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, the region-wide benchmark, extended its highest level since December 2007.
Ryanair gained 6.9 percent to 6.77 euros in Dublin, the highest price since the airline’s initial public offering in May 1997. Net income rose to 569 million euros ($731 million) in the 12 months to March 31. Analysts had predicted a profit of 560 million euros, based on the average of 19 estimates.
FirstGroup, the rail company stripped of the West Coast contract last year, plunged 30 percent to 155.6 pence, its biggest decline since at least 1995 at the lowest price in 13 years. FirstGroup said it won’t pay a final dividend for the year ended March 31 as it seeks to raise 615 million pounds ($935 million) in a rights offering.
Fresnillo Plc, the world’s largest primary silver producer, lost 3.3 percent to 1,034 pence, the lowest since August 2010 as the metal declined to a 2 1/2-year low. Randgold Resources Ltd., a producer of the precious metal in Africa, dropped 1.3 percent to 4,696 pence, while Polymetal International Plc lost 2.6 percent to 617 pence, the lowest price since its 2011 London listing.
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