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LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Index Up As Unemployment Falls

By Preeti Upadhyaya, MarketWatch LONDON (MarketWatch) -- An unexpected drop in U.K. unemployment boosted the stock market Wednesday, while the Bank of England voted in favor of the Funding for Lending Scheme. The FTSE 100 index was up 0.9% at 5,679.11. London's main equities benchmark got a lift from the U.K. unemployment rate, which dropped to 8.1% for the three-month period ending in May, down from 8.3% in the previous period and better than the 8.2% consensus that analysts polled by Factset Research had forecast. The Bank of England voted in favor of boosting asset purchases by 50 billion pounds ($78.2 billion) in what is known as the Funding for Lending Scheme, designed to boost economic activity and the credit supply. The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to keep the bank's key interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, but are "keeping the door open" to an autumn rate cut, according to a note from analysts at Danske Bank. Weakness in gold futures, down lately about 1%, filtered through to a handful of mining-sector shares traded in London. Precious-metals firm Fresnillo PLC led the FTSE 100 higher, rising 2% after reporting record gold production in the fiscal second quarter. Mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP) rose 1.5%, having reported strong fourth-quarter production results and highlighting a 12th consecutive annual production record from its iron-ore mining operations in Western Australia. Rio Tinto PLC(RIO) was up 0.3%. Metal prices were down overall. Also on the move, shares of investment firm Ashmore Group PLC climbed 2.8% after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating to buy from neutral. Heavyweight bank HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC) slipped 0.2%, as a top compliance executive said Tuesday he would step down in response to an ongoing U.S. government investigation into money laundering. G4S PLC rose 2.5%, rebounding from losses earlier in the week as it grappled with its London Olympics security-contract fiasco. Weighing on the market, RSA Insurance Group PLC rose 0.4% even after saying in a statement that record rains in the U.K. could cost firm around 40 million pounds, or $62.5 million. United Utilities Group PLC fell 0.7%, while Reed Elsevier PLC dropped 2.1% and Hammerson PLC shed 0.5%. Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

Stock News for Bhp Billiton Sp (BBL)
DateTimeHeadline
10/30/201413:24:13LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Ends Higher After Roller-coaster Day
10/30/201407:44:38LONDON MARKETS: Miners Hammer FTSE 100 As Metals Prices Slide
10/30/201405:08:38LONDON MARKETS: Miners Bruise FTSE 100 As Metals Prices Slide
10/29/201409:45:54LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Rises For Second Day; Miners Climb
10/28/201402:48:15Australian Shares Dip on Lower Commodity Prices
10/27/201419:52:22BHP Offers Some Detail on Where It Is Cutting Costs -- Market...
10/27/201411:49:23BHP Details Cost Cuts, Eyes Fayetteville Sale
10/23/201412:38:04LONDON MARKETS: FTSE Rides European Optimism, But Tesco Slumps
10/23/201403:55:21LONDON MARKETS: Tesco Slumps, Sends FTSE Lower For First Time...
10/22/201405:57:14ASIA MARKETS: Japanese Stocks Lead Rally In Asian Markets
10/16/201404:47:07BHP Confirms New Company to List in London
10/15/201401:32:29ASIA MARKETS: Asian Shares Mixed; Hong Kong Up On Low China Inflation
10/14/201415:39:42LONDON MARKETS: Burberry Group Leads Losses Among U.K. Stocks
10/13/201412:14:05LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Take A Breather From Selling; Rio...
10/13/201401:30:49BHP Billiton, Mitsubishi Open New Coal Mine
10/10/201412:36:32LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Slides To One-year Low After Tumultuous...
10/10/201407:35:10ASIA MARKETS: Asian Shares Drop On Oil Price Decline, Growth...
10/10/201403:58:48LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Heads For One-year Low After Tumultuous...
10/09/201422:40:16Wall Street Drags Down Asian Shares
10/07/201418:06:09ADR Shares End Mixed; Rio Tinto Shares Trade Actively

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