U.K. Stocks Advance as U.S. Payrolls Beat Estimates

U.K. stocks rose for the first time in four days as data showed U.S. employers hired more workers than estimated and the unemployment rate in the world’s largest economy held at an almost six-year low last month.

Asos Plc advanced 7.4 percent, after plunging 31 percent yesterday, as UBS AG advised investors to buy shares in Britain’s largest online fashion retailer. Diageo Plc fell 1.6 percent, tracking European food-and-beverage companies lower.

The FTSE 100 Index added 44.72 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,858.21 at the close in London. The gauge closed little changed yesterday, diverging from regional markets that rallied after the European Central Bank cut interest rates and unveiled measures to boost credit. The broader FTSE All-Share Index advanced 0.8 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index climbed 1.2 percent.

“After the initial euphoria, no one’s shouting from the rooftops on the back of the ECB decision,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London. “The general feeling is that the U.S. has now got the poor weather behind it and economic recovery is starting to get some traction. There’s a number of positive blocks in place. It’s just a question of what the next catalyst will be.”

A U.S. Labor Department report showed the employers added 217,000 workers in May, compared with 282,000 in April. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg had called for hiring of 215,000 last month. The unemployment rate held at 6.3 percent, the lowest level since September 2008.

Asos Rebounds

Asos advanced 7.4 percent to 3,350 pence, its biggest increase since September. UBS raised its rating on company to buy from neutral, saying that the investments Asos had made to expand the business will help deliver sales growth of above 20 percent per year for the next five years. Shares in Asos slumped 31 percent yesterday after it cut its profitability forecast.

Synergy Health Plc advanced 6.6 percent to 1,396 pence. The health-service provider said it signed an outsourcing pact with Sterilmed Inc. Canaccord Genuity Corp. raised its rating on the shares to hold from sell, saying the deal utilizes Synergy’s expertise in logistics and sterilisation.

Diageo fell 1.6 percent to 1,875 pence as food-and-beverages companies tumbled the most among the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Unilever Plc fell 1.6 percent to 2,632 pence, its third day of declines. A gauge of household-goods makers was the second-worst performing industry group in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc retreated 0.9 percent to 5,070 pence.

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