U.K. stocks erased their decline as investors awaited a U.S. house-sales report and earnings from Google Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.
Ocado Group Plc (OCDO) surged 5 percent after saying Stuart Rose will take over as the online grocer’s chairman. Rightmove Plc (RMV) rose 2.6 percent after UBS AG upgraded the shares.
The FTSE 100 gained 2.34 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 6,183.32 at 10:26 a.m. in London, erasing a tumble of 0.5 percent. The equity benchmark has gained 4.8 percent so far this year as U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget. The broader FTSE All-Share Index was unchanged today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index added 0.2 percent.
Britain’s cold snap risks pushing the economy into a triple-dip recession as Bank of England Governor Mervyn King completes his final months in office. Heavy snow affecting most of the country threatens to hurt retail sales and construction. Economists already forecast that gross domestic product shrank in the final three months of 2012. King, who steps down in July, may give his outlook for the economy when he delivers his first speech of 2013 to businessmen in Belfast this evening.
In Asia, the Bank of Japan set a 2 percent inflation target and said it will introduce Federal Reserve-style open-ended asset purchases in its strongest commitment yet to ending two decades of deflation.
In the U.S., sales of existing houses climbed 1.2 percent to a 5.1 million annual rate last month, the most since November 2009, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The National Association of Realtors publishes the figures at 10 a.m. New York time. A report on Jan. 25 may show that new-house sales rose to a 385,000 annual pace, the largest number since April 2010.
Fresnillo Plc (FRES), the world’s biggest primary silver producer, led a gauge of European mining companies lower, falling 2.7 percent to 1,727 pence.
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