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BREAKING

Greece May Be Cut by S&P

U.K. Stocks Rise on IMF Outlook; ARM Gains on IPhone Pact

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Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks rose for a fourth day after Christine Lagarde said the International Monetary Fund will raise its forecast for U.S. economic growth in 2014.

ARM Holdings Plc climbed 3.9 percent after Apple Inc., which uses ARM’s chip designs in its smartphones, struck a deal for China Mobile Ltd. to sell the iPhone. Merlin Entertainments Plc slipped 1.2 percent after a fire at the Chessington World of Adventures Resort southwest of London forced the company to close the theme park.

The FTSE 100 Index added 72.03 points, or 1.1 percent, to 6,678.61 at the close in London, its longest winning streak since October. The equity benchmark has risen 13 percent this year as central banks around the world pledged to leave interest rates low for a prolonged period of time. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also advanced 1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index declined less than 0.1 percent.

“The path of least resistance at the moment is up,” said Kevin Lilley, head of European equities at Old Mutual Global Investors U.K. Ltd. “There has been no negative news flow to depress the market and we’re going into 2014 in better shape than we were at the beginning of 2013.”

The IMF’s managing director said that falling unemployment and the bipartisan agreement over next year’s budget “gives us a much stronger outlook for 2014, which brings us to raising our forecast.” Lagarde spoke in an interview broadcast yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

IMF Forecasts

While Lagarde didn’t set out any new forecasts in the interview, the Washington-based fund typically issues revised projections in January.

ARM Holdings, a supplier to Apple, rose 3.9 percent to 1,110 pence, extending its rally this year to 45 percent. The agreement enables Apple to sell its phones to China Mobile’s 763 million existing users.

Merlin Entertainments Plc slipped 1.2 percent to 361.7 pence. The London Fire Brigade said that a fire damaged a restaurant at Chessington without causing any injuries. Merlin operates about 100 attractions in 22 countries, including Madame Tussauds and Legoland.

Premier Foods Plc fell 3.8 percent to 125.5 pence. The maker of Bird’s custard and Angel Delight said today that its bank debt and revolving credit facilities remain in place until mid-2016 and that it has yet to make any decision on the outcome of its strategic review. The Sunday Times yesterday reported that the food maker may sell shares as part of a financial restructuring to reduce debt.

To contact the reporter on this story: Trista Kelley in London at tkelley2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net