U.K. Stocks Rise as AstraZeneca Gains on Pfizer Report

U.K. stocks climbed, with the benchmark FTSE 100 Index posting its third weekly advance, as AstraZeneca Plc gained.

AstraZeneca added 2 percent on a report that Pfizer Inc. may have resumed takeover talks. Tesco Plc slumped to its lowest price since 2003 after unexpectedly slashing its dividend and lowering its full-year profit forecast. Rival supermarket chains J Sainsbury Plc and Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc both declined more than 4 percent.

The FTSE 100 increased 13.95 points, or 0.2 percent to 6,819.75 at the close in London. The benchmark fluctuated throughout the day, falling as much as 0.3 percent and rising as much as 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 climbed 0.7 percent this week and 1.3 percent this month amid optimism that the European Central Bank is ready to start buying bonds. The broader FTSE All-Share Index increased 0.2 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.3 percent.

AstraZeneca rose 2 percent to 4,567 pence, its highest price since May 16. Sweden’s Dagens Industri newspaper said that Pfizer may have started “discussions of a potential new bid”, without saying where it obtained that information.

Tesco slid 6.6 percent to 230 pence. The U.K.’s biggest retailer reduced its interim dividend by 75 percent to 1.16 pence per share. Full-year profit will now reach no more than 2.5 billion pounds ($4.2 billion), lower than the 2.7 billion pounds that analysts had estimated.

Sainsbury’s lost 4.4 percent to 290.3 pence, while Morrison’s retreated 5 percent to 177.5 pence.

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