U.K. stocks rise as HSBC, Barclays advance; EasyJet falls

U.K. stocks rose as bank shares rallied, while Kingfisher Plc (KGF) and EasyJet Plc (EZJ) fell amid concern over their financial performance.

HSBC Holdings Plc and Barclays Plc climbed more than 1.5 percent each as European lenders jumped the most among 19 industry groups. Reed Elsevier Plc rose 4.4 percent after posting an increase in earnings and announcing a better-than-estimated dividend. Kingfisher Plc fell the most since October 2008 as Europe’s largest home-improvement retailer reported second-quarter sales that fell more than analysts had projected. EasyJet lost 5 percent after saying fares out of London are under pressure.

The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) added 23.31 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,821.46 at the close of trading in London. The gauge has gained 1.1 percent this week as investor concern about thecrisis in Ukraine eased. The FTSE All-Share Index also added 0.3 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index slipped less than 0.1 percent.

U.K. retail sales including auto fuel rose 0.1 percent in June, according to the Office for National Statistics. That was slower than the median economist forecast for a 0.3 percent increase.

HSBC rose 2.3 percent to 621 pence. Barclays added 1.7 percent to 214.5 pence. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc gained 1.6 percent to 328.8 pence. A gauge of lenders on the FTSE 350 Index rallied for a third day, climbing to a one-month high.

Forthcoming Deal

British regulators are preparing to reach a deal this year on charges that a group of banks traded ahead of their clients and colluded to rig currency rates, people with knowledge of the situation said. HSBC, Barclays and RBS may be part of the settlement with the Financial Conduct Authority, people said.

Reed Elsevier rose 4.4 percent to 980 pence. The publisher posted an 11 percent increase in first-half adjusted earnings per share at constant exchange rates. Reed Elsevier also announced an interim dividend of 7 pence, more than the 6.8 pence predicted by Bloomberg Dividend Forecasts.

Antofagasta Plc (ANTO) added 1.6 percent to 847 pence. Jefferies Group LLC raised its rating on the copper miner to buy from hold.

Kingfisher declined 8.2 percent to 308.5 pence. The company said sales at stores open at least a year fell 1.8 percent in the 10 weeks ended July 12. France’s Castorama chain posted a 0.9 percent drop in same-store revenue, compared with 1 percent growth predicted by analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

EasyJet lost 5 percent to 1,333 pence. Europe’s second-biggest discount airline said the addition of capacity at London’s Gatwick airport has put fares under pressure. The company projected a 1 percent annual gain in per-seat revenue in the second half of the year. Jefferies International analyst Mark Irvine-Fortescue said the forecast is disappointing.



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