U.K. Stocks Advance on EU Budget Deal; Antofagasta Rises
U.K. stocks climbed, paring the FTSE 100 (UKX) Index’s first weekly loss since December, after trade data from China beat estimates and European Union leaders agreed to a seven-year budget that cuts spending for the first time.
Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment Plc (BPTY) posted its biggest gain since 2011 after New Jersey’s governor said he would support a trial for online betting in the state. Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) rose for a second day after Bank of America Corp. recommended buying shares of the world’s second-largest mobile-phone company.
The FTSE 100 added 35.51 points, or 0.6 percent, to 6,263.93 at the close in London, paring this week’s drop to 1.3 percent. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also rose 0.6 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index climbed 1.5 percent.
“We look at the numbers out of China every day,” said Jerome Forneris a fund manager at Banque Martin Maurel in Marseille, which oversees $8.5 billion. “It can be the motor of recovery. Europe can’t recover on its own. The data from China is good news for Europe.”
Forneris recently bought shares of luxury-goods companies and stocks linked to economic growth.
China’s exports and imports rose more than estimated in a January that had five more working days than last year, a report showed. Exports increased 25 percent from a year earlier, the customs administration said, beating the median economist projection of 17.5 percent. Imports climbed 28.8 percent, exceeding the 23.5 percent estimate in a Bloomberg News survey.
The leaders of the EU’s 27 member states struck the budget deal after 25 1/2 hours of talks in Brussels, according to a post on Twitter by Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, today. The final draft for 2014-2020 set a spending limit of 960 billion euros ($1.3 trillion), down from an original proposal of 1.047 trillion euros and less than the 994 billion euros spent in the current budget cycle.
Bwin.Party soared 16 percent to 135.8 pence. 888 Holdings Plc (888) jumped 17 percent to 135 pence, its highest price since 2008. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he would support a 10-year trial for online betting in the state to see whether struggling Atlantic City casinos benefit from the change.
Playtech Ltd. (PTEC), which develops software for the gaming industry, surged 8.6 percent to 532 pence.
Vodafone added 1.2 percent to 173.9 pence. Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit raised its recommendation on the shares to buy from neutral. The analysts said Vodafone’s dividend from the U.S. may rise by more than 50 percent.
Cupid Plc (CUP) sank 14 percent to 135.25 pence, the biggest drop since it listed in London in 2010. The Edinburgh-based dating agency said in a statement that it does not know why its shares have fallen today. The company said that a radio program has begun an investigation into online dating.
Experian Plc (EXPN) climbed 1.2 percent to 1,096 pence. UBS AG raised the credit-reference company to buy from neutral. “We remain positive on the long-term business model, the barriers to entry and the dominant market positions,” the analysts wrote.
Imperial Tobacco Group Plc (IMT) slid 2 percent to 2,300 pence. The maker of Gauloises cigarettes and Rizla rolling paper was downgraded to hold from buy at Investec Plc.
“There is support from the valuation and the prospect of a takeout,” the analysts wrote. “But we don’t think the latter is imminent enough and while IMT looks cheap, it doesn’t look that cheap in the current Darwinian climate.”
The number of shares changing hands on the FTSE 100 was 7.7 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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