Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

U.K. Stocks Little Changed as Sainsbury Drops, Vodafone Advances

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U.K. stocks were little changed before Thursday’s election as a drop in J Sainsbury Plc offset advances in Vodafone Group Plc and Imperial Tobacco Group Plc.

Sainsbury dropped 3.2 percent after posting the first profit decline in a decade. Vodafone increased 1.6 percent after Exane BNP Paribas upgraded the shares. Imperial Tobacco climbed 1.8 percent after reporting an increase in first-half profit and saying it will start paying quarterly dividends. GlaxoSmithKline Plc added 0.9 percent after saying it will pay a special dividend in the fourth quarter.

The FTSE 100 Index added less than 0.1 percent to 6933.74 at the close in London, having swung between an advance of 0.7 percent and a decline of 0.2 percent. A fall in HSBC Holdings Plc helped push U.K. stocks lower yesterday. The FTSE All-Share Index was also little changed, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index retreated 1 percent.

Voters are preparing for an election whose outcome polls suggest is uncertain. The Conservatives and Labour are neck-and-neck in polls, while more voters than ever are likely to back the U.K. Independence Party, the Greens and the Scottish National Party.

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