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U.K. Stocks Advance as FTSE 100 Index Halts Four-Day Drop

Aug. 8 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks rose, rebounding from their biggest decline in more than six weeks, as mining companies climbed after a report showed Chinese trade improved.

Commodity producers contributed the most to the FTSE 100 Index’s advance after data showed China’s imports and exports increased more than economists had predicted. Aviva Plc jumped to a two-year high after posting first-half operating profit that beat analysts’ estimates and saying that restructuring costs fell 10 percent.

The FTSE 100 gained 18.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,529.68 at the close of trading in London. The equity benchmark has rallied 8.3 percent from a low on June 24 as the Federal Reserve said it remains flexible on the pace of bond buying. The broader FTSE All-Share Index added 0.4 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index increased 1 percent.

“In the short term, there will be blips of good news on the back of the Chinese economy recovering,” Ashok Shah, investment director at London & Capital Group Ltd., told Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television. “Until it’s fundamentally much stronger, cyclical sectors like commodities will continue to be under tremendous pressure.”

The number of shares trading hands on FTSE 100-listed companies was 14 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days at this time of the day, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

China’s Exports

In China, a report from the General Administration of Customs showed that exports rose 5.1 percent last month from a year earlier, more than the 2 percent increase forecast in a Bloomberg News survey. Exports dropped 3.1 percent in June. Imports rose 10.9 percent in July.

A gauge of London-listed mining companies increased 3.1 percent, rebounding from its lowest level in three weeks. The index has still slumped 18 percent this year. Glencore Xstrata Plc climbed 3.7 percent to 280.4 pence, while BHP Billiton Ltd. added 3 percent to 1,899 pence.

Rio Tinto Group gained 2.1 percent to 3,016.5 pence after increasing its dividend by 15 percent to 83.5 cents a share. The world’s second-largest mining company also posted underlying profit of $4.2 billion for the first half of this year, beating the average analyst prediction of $4.16 billion.

Aviva jumped 7.6 percent to 399 pence. Operating profit climbed to 1.01 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in the first six months of this year, exceeding the 933 million-pound average prediction of analysts surveyed by the company. Restructuring costs dropped to 164 million pounds, according to the insurer.

Schroders Plc slid 5.3 percent to 2,368 pence after saying that clients withdrew 1.1 billion pounds from its funds in the second quarter. Outflows jumped in June as concern mounted that the Federal Reserve will reduce asset purchases and that China’s economy will slow, the U.K.’s biggest fund manager by assets said in a statement.

Ladbrokes Plc fell 3.9 percent to 199.6 pence after saying that betting on its gaming machines slowed in the first six months of this year more than the company had predicted because of hot weather in the U.K. Ladbrokes forecast no like-for-like sales growth for its machines business this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sofia Horta e Costa in London at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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