U.K. Stocks Advance as Schroders, AstraZeneca Increase

U.K. stocks advanced, rebounding from yesterday’s drop, as gains in Schroders Plc and AstraZeneca Plc offset a drop in miners.

Schroders climbed 2.7 percent as HSBC Holdings Plc increased its stock rating. AstraZeneca rose the most since May after people familiar with the matter said Pfizer Inc. prefers to strike a deal with the U.K.’s second-biggest drugmaker. Fresnillo Plc and Randgold Resources Ltd. each lost more than 1.5 percent as commodity producers retreated after a China report showed a manufacturing gauge fell more than forecast and gold fell.

The FTSE 100 Index added 22.18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,777.66 at the close in London. The benchmark gauge declined 0.4 percent yesterday as minutes from the latest monetary-policy meeting of the Bank of England showed two of the nine officials argued for an interest-rate increase this month. The broader FTSE All-Share Index climbed 0.4 percent, and Ireland’s ISEQ Index rose 0.6 percent.

A report showed U.K. retail sales climbed more than economists had forecast. Sales excluding auto fuel rose 0.5 percent in July from June, when they fell 0.1 percent, the Office for National Statistics said.

In China, the preliminary Purchasing Managers’ Index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics was at 50.3, trailing all 22 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The measure dropped from July’s final reading of 51.7 and, if confirmed on Sept. 1, will be a three-month low. Numbers above 50 indicate expansion.

A Purchasing Managers Index for euro-area manufacturing and services activity slowed in August.

Schroders Gains

Schroders advanced 2.7 percent to 2,392 pence. HSBC raised its rating to overweight, the equivalent of buy, from neutral, saying that the recent pullback is an opportunity. The stock reached its lowest level in more than a year on Aug. 8.

AstraZeneca added 3 percent to 4,411.5 pence. Pfizer abandoned a 69.5-billion-pound ($116 billion) effort to buy London-based AstraZeneca on May 26. Under U.K. takeover rules it can make the first steps toward a renewed bid on Aug. 26.

Fresnillo, a gold and silver miner, decreased 3.6 percent to 938 pence, while Randgold Resources, which mines gold, dropped 1.9 percent to 4,904 pence. Gold retreated to a two-month low on speculation that the Federal Reserve will raise borrowing costs earlier than expected. Silver also fell.

Fed minutes of the central bank’s July meeting showed officials raised the possibility that aggressive stimulus will end sooner than anticipated even as they acknowledged persistent slack in the labor market.

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