U.K. stocks were little changed, erasing earlier gains, as Experian Plc retreated while data showed industrial production in Europe’s third-largest economy rose more than forecast.
Associated British Foods Plc added 2.8 percent after announcing plans for expanding its Primark chain in Germany. EasyJet Plc climbed 0.9 percent after saying seat occupancy increased last month from a year ago. Experian Plc tumbled the most in five years after saying it will buy Passport Health Communications Inc. for $850 million.
The FTSE 100 Index slipped 5.15 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,741.69 at the close in London after earlier rising as much as 0.3 percent. The broader FTSE All-Share Index fell less than 0.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index climbed 0.6 percent.
“The FTSE has been considerably more resilient, edging higher encouraged by the performance of the European markets,” Alastair McCaig, a market analyst at IG in London, wrote in e-mailed comments. “U.K. production has also added to the general perception of an improving U.K. economy.”
U.K. industrial production increased 0.9 percent in September from August, when it fell 1.1 percent, the Office for National Statistics said. The median forecast of 28 economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a gain of 0.6 percent. Factory production rose 1.2 percent, also exceeding estimates, after dropping 1.2 percent in August.
Investors are awaiting interest-rate decisions from the BOE and the European Central Bank tomorrow. BOE policy makers will keep their benchmark interest rate at a record low 0.5 percent tomorrow, according to a Bloomberg survey. Governor Mark Carney presents new quarterly forecasts on Nov. 13.
Three of 70 economists’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg predict the ECB will cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.25 percent at tomorrow’s meeting. Eight of 38 economists in a separate survey forecast policy makers will lower interest rates in December.
AB Foods Plc rallied 2.8 percent to 2,269 pence, its highest price since at least January 1986. Chief executive officer George Weston told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview that the Primark clothing chain plans to open more than five new stores in Germany every year.
EasyJet climbed 0.9 percent to 1,214 pence. Europe’s second-biggest discount carrier said its load factor in October increased to 89.1 percent from 88.4 percent a year ago.
Moneysupermarket.com Group Plc surged 16 percent to 179.6 pence for the biggest gain since October 2008. The price-comparison website said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year will be better than estimates. The company was also upgraded to buy from hold at Canaccord Genuity Corp.
Meggitt Plc rose 2 percent to 503.50 pence. Cantor Fitzgerald LP boosted its rating of the provider of wheels and brakes for aircraft to buy from hold.
Experian tumbled 6.4 percent to 1,182 pence. The credit-reporting service will buy Passport Health, which has a 2013 revenue forecast of $121 million in 2013 and an estimate for earnings before interest and taxes of $30 million.
Mondi Ltd. lost 4.1 percent to 1,070 pence for the biggest drop since June. South Africa’s biggest packaging company posted sales volumes, adjusted for acquisitions, that were similar to last year and lower than the second quarter.