U.K. Stocks Rise on Earnings; Standard Chartered Advances
Next Plc (NXT) surged 6.5 percent as Britain’s second-largest clothing retailer reported sales that exceeded projections and raised its profit forecast. Standard Chartered and Taylor Wimpey both rose more than 3.5 percent. Old Mutual Plc (OML) led insurers higher after its South African business reported higher profit.
The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) added 1.4 percent to 5,712.82 at the close in London, extending its advance from this year low on June 1 to 8.6 percent as policy makers including European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pledged to protect the euro. The broader FTSE All-Share Index rose 1.2 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index slipped 0.9 percent.
“Decent earnings are helping the U.K.,” said Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at ETX Capital in London. “Better- than-expected results from Next and Standard Chartered have offset a nasty reading of domestic manufacturing.”
Stocks pared their advance after a U.K. measure of factory output, based on a survey by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, dropped to 45.4 in July from a revised 48.4 in June. That was the lowest in 38 months. The median economist forecast in a Bloomberg News survey was 48.4. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.
U.S. Federal Reserve policy makers will announce the outcome of a two-day meeting after the close of European trading. The central bank’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, will probably not unveil a third round of large-scale asset purchases this week and is more likely to wait until September, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The Fed has carried out two rounds of so-called quantitative easing since Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed in 2008, buying $2.3 trillion in bonds in an attempt to stimulate the world’s largest economy.
Next jumped 6.5 percent to 3,427 pence, its highest price since at least 1988, after the retailer raised its pretax profit forecast for the year through January 2013 to as much as 620 million pounds ($967 million). That compared with a previous maximum target of 610 million pounds. The company reported a 4.5 percent increase in sales under its own brand in the 26 weeks ended July 28, beating the 2.1 percent median estimate of seven analysts compiled by Bloomberg.
Standard Chartered, the U.K. bank that gets most of its revenue from Asia, advanced 3.6 percent to 1,517.5 pence after reporting an 11 percent gain in first-half profit to $2.86 billion. That topped the median analyst estimate of $2.76 billion in a Bloomberg survey. The lender also plans to increase its branches in China and India as rivals falter amid the global economic slowdown.
Taylor Wimpey gained 5 percent to 46.35 pence after the U.K.’s second-largest housebuilder by volume more than doubled first-half pretax profit before one-off items to 78.2 million pounds as it sold more expensive properties at higher margins.
Analysts had projected 71.6 million pounds, according to the average of three estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Old Mutual climbed 2.6 percent to 161.8 pence, dragging a gauge of European insurers higher. Nedbank Group Ltd., the South African bank controlled by Old Mutual, reported a 27 percent increase in first-half profit.
Antofagasta Plc (ANTO) added 2.4 percent to 1,098 pence after the copper producer controlled by Chile’s Luksic family reported a 9.1 percent increase in second-quarter output of the metal to 173,200 metric tons.
Rightmove Plc jumped 10 percent to 1,645 pence as the U.K.’s biggest residential property website posted a 28 percent increase in first-half underlying operating profit.
Cape Plc (CIU) tumbled 35 percent to 187 pence, its lowest price since 2009. The supplier of fire protection and scaffolding to energy companies said its performance in Australia will be “well below” its expectations, with revenue and margins falling and delays to projects.
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