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U.K. Stocks Little Changed as Tullow Advances on Upgrade

U.K. stocks snapped two days of gains as the European Central Bank left its key interest rate at a record low and President Mario Draghi said policy makers debated measures such as large-scale asset purchases.

Tullow Oil Plc rose the most in almost two months after UBS AG recommended that investors buy the shares. BTG Plc climbed 1 percent after saying sales will near the upper end of its forecast range. Just Eat Plc surged 8.9 percent on its first day of trading. McBride Plc fell to the lowest price since 2008 after posting a drop in quarterly revenue and saying it will probably miss analysts’ predictions for annual results.

The FTSE 100 Index declined 9.9 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,649.14 at the close in London, after advancing as much as 0.3 percent and dropping as much as 0.3 percent. The benchmark gauge fell 3.1 percent in March, more than the 1.1 percent drop for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also lost 0.2 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index declined 0.3 percent.

“Fleeting gains and losses have been the order of the day in London,” Chris Beauchamp, a market analyst at IG in London, wrote in a note. “Some disappointment over a lack of action by the ECB has set in as well.”

Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt the ECB is ready to act to prevent a prolonged period of low inflation. The ECB left its benchmark rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25 percent, matching the median economist forecast.

Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil climbed 6.2 percent to 800 pence after UBS raised its recommendation on the shares to buy from hold, citing a strong portfolio of assets and an attractive price. The oil explorer tumbled 53 percent from a February 2012 high through the end of March.

BTG advanced 1 percent to 546.5 pence after saying it expects revenue near the upper end of 275 million pounds ($457 million) to 285 million pounds for the year ended March 31. The growth reflects new revenue from last year’s acquisitions of TheraSphere, a liver-cancer medicine, and EKOS Corp., a U.S. maker of a treatment for severe blood clots, the biotechnology company said in a statement.

Just Eat, an online takeaway service that connects diners directly to restaurants, jumped 8.9 percent to 283 pence. The stock sale represents 24.6 percent of its ordinary shares. The company said it expects to raise 360.1 million pounds from the initial public offering, assuming no over-allotment option is issued.

Dunelm Sales

Dunelm Group Plc added 3.6 percent to 1,006 pence after the U.K. home-furnishings retailer posted a 5 percent increase in third-quarter same-store sales, exceeding the average analyst estimate of a 1.8 percent gain.

McBride plunged 9.2 percent to 95.75 pence after saying revenue excluding currency swings fell 4 percent in the quarter ended April 2. The maker of household and personal-care products also said results for the year ending June may not meet analysts’ predictions because of difficult trading conditions for its retail customers and weak demand in the U.K. and Italy.

The volume of shares changing hands in FTSE 100-listed companies was 16 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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