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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
08/29/201412:25:26LONDON MARKETS: Tesco Slumps After Warning, Curbs FTSE 100 Gain
08/29/201403:48:27LONDON MARKETS: Tesco Slides After Warning, Curbs FTSE 100 Gain
08/28/201414:15:12LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Snaps Two-day Winning Streak As Miners...
08/28/201414:15:05EUROPE MARKETS: Deutsche Bank Falls After Fine; Essilor Rallies:...
08/28/201408:12:47EUROPE MARKETS: Bouygues Falls After Warning; Essilor Rallies:...
08/27/201409:13:10Business Leaders Slam Case for Scottish Independence -- 2nd Update
08/27/201406:12:42Business Leaders Slam Case for Scottish Independence
08/27/201405:20:31Business Leaders Slam Case for Scottish Independence -- Update
08/26/201422:10:10Asian Shares Edge Up on Wall Street High
08/22/201413:09:32EUROPE MARKETS: Hugo Boss Climbs; Oil Stocks Drop: Europe Movers
08/22/201412:27:52LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Ends Choppy Day Lower As Miners Weigh
08/21/201412:18:43EUROPE MARKETS: Raiffeisen Rallies, Miners Slip: Europe Movers
08/21/201412:17:19LONDON MARKETS: Miners Drop In London After Weak China PMI
08/21/201403:44:17LONDON MARKETS: Miners Slide In London After Weak China PMI
08/20/201405:44:06LONDON MARKETS: FTSE Breaks 5-day Winning Streak After BOE Report
08/20/201405:04:07EUROPE MARKETS: Carlsberg Slumps, Vestas Rises: Europe Movers
08/20/201404:58:21EUROPE MARKETS: Carlsberg Slumps In Europe After Profit Warning
08/20/201403:52:24LONDON MARKETS: FTSE Breaks 5-day Winning Streak Ahead Of BOE...
08/19/201418:12:41ADR Shares End Mostly Higher; BHP Billiton Shares Active
08/19/201412:41:09LONDON MARKETS: U.K.'s FTSE 100 Climbs For 5th Day After Inflation...

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