U.K. Stocks Advance for 14% Annual Gain; Debenhams Drops

U.K. stocks rose for the seventh day out of eight, completing their biggest annual rally since 2009 amid shortened trading hours for New Year’s Eve.

Aberdeen Asset Management Plc gained 3.1 percent for the largest increase in the benchmark FTSE 100 Index. Land Securities Group Plc and Persimmon Plc climbed more than 1.7 percent as real estate companies in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced the most among 19 industry groups. Debenhams Plc slumped 12 percent after saying profit will drop in the first half of the year.

The FTSE 100 Index added 17.82 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,749.09 at the close of London trading, bringing its annual advance to 14 percent. The FTSE All-Share Index rose 0.3 percent today, and Ireland’s ISEQ Index climbed 0.6 percent.

“It’s been a good run this year,” said Christoph Hock, an equity-sales trader at Alpha Wertpapierhandels GmbH in Frankfurt. “Markets are slightly in positive territory but volumes are low and trading desks are pretty quiet.”

The number of shares changing hands today in FTSE 100-listed companies was 48 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The London Stock Exchange closed today at 12:30 p.m.

This year’s 14 percent FTSE 100 increase compares with a 17 percent gain in the Stoxx 600.

Aberdeen rallied 3.1 percent to a record 500 pence. Shares of the money manager advanced 36 percent this year.

Land Securities gained 1.9 percent to 963.5 pence. Persimmon climbed 1.7 percent to 1,239 pence, bringing its annual advance to 55 percent. The housebuilder is among the 10 best performers in the U.K. benchmark index this year. The Stoxx 600 Real Estate Index gained 1.2 percent today.

Debenhams Falls

Debenhams sank 12 percent to 73 pence. The U.K.’s second-largest department-store chain said first-half pretax profit will be about 85 million pounds ($140 million), down from almost 115 million pounds a year earlier. The retailer also said it will cease its share buyback program.

Marks & Spencer Group Plc lost 2.3 percent to 432.6 pence for the biggest decline in the FTSE 100 today.

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA rallied 117 percent this year to 401.4 pence and EasyJet Plc doubled to 1,536 pence for the biggest gainers in the FTSE 100.

Antofagasta Plc, Randgold Resources Ltd. and Fresnillo Plc lost more than 34 percent each for the biggest losses in the U.K. stocks gauge this year. A gauge of basic-resources companies in the Stoxx 600 dropped 13 percent in 2013 for the only decline among 19 industry groups.

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