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U.K. Stocks Advance After a Two-Day Decline as GKN Climbs

July 29 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks advanced, after a two-day decline, as investors weighed earnings from companies including GKN Plc and Next Plc.

GKN jumped the most in two years after reporting higher first-half pretax profit. Next climbed 2.6 percent after raising its full-year revenue and earnings forecasts. Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc slipped 1.8 percent after saying it is cautious about the outlook for the rest of the year.

The FTSE 100 gained 19.68 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,807.75 at the close of trading in London. The FTSE All-Share Index also added 0.3 percent today, and Ireland’s ISEQ Index rose 0.8 percent.

The FTSE 100 pared gains of as much as 0.7 percent in the final half-hour of trading after the European Union announced new sanctions against Russia for its backing of the rebellion in Ukraine.

An EU official told reporters that the 28-member group agreed to block Russian state-owned banks from selling shares or bonds in Europe, and restricted the export of equipment to modernize the oil industry. New contracts to sell arms to Russia and the export of machinery, electronics and other civilian products with potential military uses will also be banned.

GKN climbed 6.7 percent to 366 pence. The supplier of parts to Boeing Co. reported first-half pretax profit on a management basis of 296 million pounds ($503 million), compared with 278 million pounds a year earlier.

Next rose 2.6 percent to 6,690 pence. The U.K.’s second-biggest clothing retailer said revenue under the Next brand rose 10.7 percent in the 26 weeks to July 26. That beat the average analyst prediction for a 9.6 percent gain.

Next forecast sales growth of 7 percent to 10 percent this year, compared with an earlier prediction of 5.5 percent to 9.5 percent. Full-year pretax profit will be 775 million pounds to 815 million pounds, compared with a previous forecast of 750 million pounds to 790 million pounds.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson slipped 1.8 percent to 1,037 pence. The London-based company, which is involved in risk management advice, insurance and reinsurance broking, cited a decline in the insurance and reinsurance rating environment in the last quarter and the strength of sterling for its cautious outlook.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morgan in Frankfurt at jmorgan157@bloomberg.net

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

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