Bloomberg News

U.K. Stocks Rise; Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton Lead Advancers

August 21, 2012

U.K. stocks climbed before a series of bilateral meetings between euro-area leaders that will try to calm the region’s sovereign-debt crisis.

Rio Tinto Group and BHP Billiton (BLT) Ltd. led gains, rising at least 1.5 percent. Barclays Plc (BARC), Britain’s second-biggest lender by assets, added 3.2 percent after saying it’s in talks to sell its African units. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) advanced after Liberum Capital Ltd. advised buying the stock.

The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) added 0.6 percent to 5,857.52 at the close in London. The benchmark has climbed 11 percent since this year’s low on June 1. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also rose 0.6 percent, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index gained 0.9 percent.

“Today’s gains are largely being driven by hopes that the European Central Bank is moving closer to responding with a plan to arrest the spread of the regional debt crisis,” Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at ETX Capital in London, wrote in a note.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of euro-area finance ministers, visits Athens tomorrow to listen to a request by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for a two-year extension to the country’s fiscal-adjustment program. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Berlin on Aug. 23.

In the U.S., house sales and durable-goods orders probably increased in July, economists said before reports this week.

Miners Gain

Copper climbed in London after China’s central bank injected the most funds into the financial system since its current round of reverse-repurchase operations began on July 3.

A gauge of mining and resource companies was among the biggest gainers of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.

Rio Tinto (RIO), the world’s third-largest mining company, rose 2.1 percent to 3,062.5 pence. BHP Billiton, the biggest, added 1.5 percent to 1,980 pence.

Vedanta Resources Plc (VED), a copper producer, advanced 4.5 percent to 966.5 pence. Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ), the largest copper producer in Kazakhstan, increased 2.6 percent to 735 pence.

Ophir Energy Plc (OPHR), an oil and gas company, rose 4.6 percent to 549.5 pence. Ophir said it found gas in Equatorial Guinea’s Block R well and raised its estimate of the mean recoverable resources in place by 40 percent from its initial pre-drilling forecast.

Heritage Oil Plc (HOIL), an oil and gas explorer active in the Middle East and Africa, jumped 22 percent to 205 pence after agreeing to sell a stake in its Miran gas field in Kurdistan to Genel Energy Plc and canceling a share sale.

Barclays Africa

Barclays added 3.2 percent to 197.1 pence. The lender and South Africa’s Absa Group Ltd. said they’re in talks to combine their African units and complete a plan started seven years ago.

RBS climbed 2.5 percent to 237.5 pence. Liberum raised its recommendation on the stock to buy from hold.

Mecom Group Plc (MEC), an investor in consumer media, rallied 3.8 percent to 82.75 pence. Peel Hunt LLP raised its recommendation on Mecom to buy, saying the company’s strategic review may lead to asset sales.

Development Securities Plc (DSC), a property investment company, added 5.6 percent to 164.8 pence after saying it completed three disposals, raising 40.9 million pounds ($64.5 million).

James Fisher & Sons Plc, a tanker owner and provider of marine services, climbed 4.3 percent to 673 pence after reporting increased first-half profit and saying it’s poised for further growth.

CPP Group Plc (CPP), which offers credit card protection, sank 23 percent to 38.3 pence after reporting a 70 percent drop in first-half pretax profit.

Severfield-Rowen Plc (SFR), a construction company, slid 4.5 percent to 139.5 pence after saying it will combine three U.K. units in response to renewed pressure on margins.

To contact the reporters on this story: Adria Cimino in Paris at acimino1@bloomberg.net;

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


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