U.K. Stocks Advance for Second Day, Led by Miners
BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Rio Tinto Group, the world’s biggest mining companies, each gained at least 2 percent as base metals rebounded in London. Standard Life Plc jumped the most in eight months as Scotland’s biggest insurer posted first-quarter sales that beat analysts’ estimates. Barclays Plc (BARC) added 1.4 percent after reporting results and expressing optimism about its second-quarter performance.
The FTSE 100 climbed 11.99 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,418.11 at 9:29 a.m. in London. The gauge yesterday rallied the most since Jan. 2 as companies reported sales that beat estimates and investors speculated the European Central Bank may cut interest rates. The FTSE 100 has increased 8.8 percent so far this year. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also gained 0.2 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index slipped 0.1 percent.
Seven companies including Aggreko Plc, Tesco Plc and Rolls- Royce Holdings Plc are trading without the rights to their latest dividends, wiping off 9.3 points from the FTSE 100.
The volume of shares changing hands in companies on the benchmark index was 40 percent greater than the average of the past 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A German report showed business confidence in Europe’s largest economy fell for a second month in April. The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, dropped to 104.4 this month from 106.7 March. Economists in a Bloomberg News survey forecast a drop to 106.2.
A gauge of mining companies listed in the FTSE 350 Index gained 3.1 percent.
BHP, the world’s biggest commodity producer, rose 2.4 percent to 1,822 pence and Rio Tinto, the second-largest, added 4.2 percent to 3,030.5 pence. Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ), Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer, jumped 7.2 percent to 359 pence.
Standard Life rallied 6.3 percent to 374.8 pence after the Edinburgh-based insurer said long-term savings sales increased to 6.27 billion pounds ($9.6 billion) in the first quarter, surpassing the 5.36 billion-pound average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
Barclays Plc climbed 1.4 percent to 302.35 pence after saying that a “good start to the year” has continued in the second quarter. The lender reported first-quarter pretax profit, excluding losses on the valuation of its debt, of 1.79 billion pounds.
Bodycote Plc (BOY), a supplier of metal-strengthening services to Ford Motor Co., added 1 percent to 487 pence after saying first- quarter revenue rose 3.9 percent to 156.5 million pounds and reiterating that it expects “modest progress” in 2013.
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