Bloomberg News

U.K. Stocks Rise as Whitbread, Fresnillo Climb; Barclays Falls

September 06, 2011

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks advanced for the first time in three days as shares of Whitbread Plc and Fresnillo Plc rallied.

Whitbread paced advancing shares after reporting an acceleration in sales growth. Fresnillo advanced 3.9 percent. Barclays Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc limited gains in the benchmark FTSE 100 Index, falling more than 2 percent.

The FTSE 100 Index gained 54.26, or 1.1 percent, to 5,156.84 at the 5:30 p.m. close in London, after tumbling 5.8 percent over the previous two trading days amid concern that global growth is slowing as Europe’s debt crisis spreads. The FTSE All-Share Index gained 0.9 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index was little changed.

The FTSE 100 climbed 3.2 percent last week after the August slump of 7.2 percent dragged equities to their cheapest valuation on estimated earnings since March 2009. The gauge has still fallen 15 percent from this year’s high in February.

“I don’t think anything has changed in terms of sentiment,” said Richard Hunter, head of U.K. equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London. “Investors are concentrating on the debt situation again. Until we get at least some sort of concrete strategy and plan on the table, volatility and fragility will remain.”

Whitbread surged 7.3 percent to 1,563 pence after the company said second-quarter revenue at outlets open at least a year rose 4.8 percent in the 11 weeks to Aug. 18, led by stronger performances at its Premier Inn budget hotels and Costa Coffee shops. That compared with growth of 1.7 percent in the previous quarter.

Fresnillo, Randgold Rise

Fresnillo climbed 3.9 percent to 2,064 pence as Numis Securities Ltd. raised its recommendation for the silver producer to “hold” from “reduce.” Randgold Resources Plc also advanced, jumping 3 percent to 6,940 pence. Numis upgraded the shares to “add” from “hold.”

RBS lost 2.8 percent to 21.17 pence, extending yesterday’s 12 percent slump, while Barclays Plc dropped 2.2 percent to 150.75 pence.

A gauge of U.K. banks lost 5 percent yesterday as the cost of insuring against default in Europe surged to a record amid signs that European lenders may be struggling to get funding.

--Editor: Will Hadfield

To contact the reporters on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net


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