U.K. FTSE 100 Extends Five-Year High; Antofagasta Rallies

The U.K. stocks climbed for a fourth day, extending the benchmark FTSE 100 Index’s highest level in more than five years.

Antofagasta Plc rallied 3.1 percent after the copper producer doubled its dividend payout. Lloyds Banking Group Plc gained 1.2 percent after the lender sold a 520 million-pound ($773 million) stake in St. James’s Place Plc. British Land Co. dropped the most in 1 1/2 years after the company sold new shares equivalent to about 10 percent of pre-offer capital.

The FTSE 100 rose 6.99 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,510.62 at the close in London, extending its highest level since December 2007. The equity benchmark has climbed 1.3 percent in four days as economic reports from U.S. payrolls to Chinese exports bolstered optimism in the global recovery.

“The market has actually moved to another stage,” Justin Urquhart Stewart, who helps oversee about $6.8 billion at Seven Investment Management Ltd., said in a telephone interview from London. “The global economy is healing itself quite well, corporate results are pretty good and there is even a hint of some M&A. There is every reason to still be in this market.”

The broader FTSE All-Share Index added 0.1 percent while Ireland’s ISEQ Index advanced 0.6 percent. The volume of shares changing hands in companies on the FTSE 100 was 8.6 percent lower than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Industrial Output

Gains were limited after data showed an unexpected drop in U.K. industrial production and manufacturing in January. Production and factory output fell 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, the Office for National Statistics said.

Antofagasta advanced 3.1 percent to 1,129 pence after the copper producer doubled its dividend to 98.5 cents a share, including a 77.5-cent special payment. The company still reported a 17 percent decline in 2012 net income to $1.03 billion that fell short of analysts’ average estimate.

Fellow copper producer, Kazakhmys Plc jumped 6.1 percent to 552 pence for the biggest advance on the FTSE 100. The stock had tumbled 9.1 percent from the previous four days.

Lloyds gain 1.2 percent to 50.6 pence after the mortgage lender sold part of its stake in St. James’s Place as the industry faces pressure from regulators to bolster capital.

Bank of America Corp. sold the 102 million shares on behalf of Lloyds at 510 pence apiece. The U.K. bank still owns 37 percent of the money manager, which declined 4.9 percent to 510.5 pence today.

IAG Jobs

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA gained 4.8 percent to 257.2 pence after the parent of British Airways resolved a dispute with unions in Spain.

IAG yesterday backed a mediator’s plan for about 3,140 job cuts at unprofitable Spanish unit Iberia after offering concessions that won union backing. IAG Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh is seeking a 600 million-euro ($780 million) earnings turnaround at Iberia by 2015.

InterContinental Hotels Group Plc increased 1.8 percent to 2,011 pence, its highest price since its spinoff from Six Continents Plc and initial public offering in 2003. UBS AG today raised its recommendation for the company to neutral from sell. Volume matched the three-month average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

British Land dropped 4.4 percent to 555 pence after the U.K.’s second-largest real estate investment trust raised about 493 million pounds in a share sale to help fund acquisitions and development.

Morgan Stanley, UBS AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. placed the 89.7 million new shares, on behalf of the company, at 550 pence apiece which was at the lower end of a price guidance given to investors.

Elsewhere, IG Group Holdings Plc rallied 7.6 percent to 561.5 pence on the broader All-Share Index. A close at this price would be the highest for the stock since the company sold shares to the public in April 2005. The spread-betting firm posted an 18 percent increase in third-quarter revenue to 88.6 million pounds.

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