U.K. Stocks Advance; Lloyds Leads Gains

01 May 2012

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London Stock Exchange


U.K. stocks climbed, with the FTSE 100 Index rebounding from its second successive month of losses, after Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) reported profit that topped analyst estimates.
Lloyds, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, climbed 1.6 percent as first-quarter profit more than doubled. Imperial Tobacco (IMT) Group Plc gained 1.8 percent as the tobacco company’s first-half earnings matched projections. BP Plc (BP/) declined 2.7 percent after net income dropped 19 percent.

The FTSE 100 rose 15.17, or 0.3 percent, to 5,752.95 at 9:15 a.m. in London, after dropping 0.7 percent Monday. The gauge fell 0.5 percent last month as Britain slipped into a double-dip recession and concerns that the euro-area debt crisis is deepening returned. The FTSE All-Share Index gained 0.3 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index climbed 0.4 percent, according to Bloomberg report.
The volume of shares changing hands in companies on the FTSE 100 (UKX) was 37 percent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Most western European markets, including Germany, France and Spain, are closed for the May Day holiday today.

Reports this week on British manufacturing, construction and services may set the tone for Bank of England officials as they prepare to decide on further quantitative easing at their meeting on May 10.
In the U.S, a report may show that manufacturing expanded at a slower pace in April than a month earlier. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index eased to 53 last month from 53.4 in March, according to the median economist estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings greater than 50 signal growth.

Another report may show construction spending rose in March for the first time in three months. Both reports will come out at 10 a.m. Washington time.
Lloyds rallied 1.6 percent to 31.52 pence after pretax profit, excluding one-time items and asset sales, more than doubled to 628 million pounds ($1 billion). Analysts had predicted a profit of 422 million pounds, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Total impairments fell by 36 percent, helped by the lender’s Irish and Australian units.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), which is scheduled to report earnings on May 4, gained 0.6 percent to 24.42 pence. Barclays Plc (BARC) rose 0.4 percent to 219.2 pence and HSBC Holdings Plc increased 1 percent to 560.4 pence.
Imperial Tobacco rose 1.8 percent to 2,509 pence after Europe’s second-biggest tobacco company reported a 3 percent increase in adjusted operating profit to 1.52 billion pounds in the six months ended March 31, helped by higher prices for cigarettes in the U.K. That equaled the median estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

BP retreated 2.7 percent to 433.2 pence. Europe’s second- largest oil company reported a 19 percent decline in first- quarter net income to $5.9 billion, as asset sales lowered production and refining weakened.
Excluding one-time items and changes in inventories, profit missed analyst forecasts. Oil and gas production, including output from the Russian TNK-BP venture, was 3.45 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. 

Tags: Business, World, U.K, Stocks

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