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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
09/17/201417:09:44LONDON MARKETS: FTSE Inches Higher With Eyes On Scotland, Labor...
09/17/201405:03:18LONDON MARKETS: Miners Lift FTSE 100; Eyes On Scotland, Central...
09/17/201403:50:10BHP Billiton Cuts Iron Ore Jobs in Australia
09/15/201409:21:18Correction to China Mining Story on Sept. 11
09/12/201415:21:16LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Edges Up As Key Poll Points To 'no...
09/12/201406:43:12LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Rise After Poll Points To 'no' In...
09/10/201423:00:11China's Global Mining Play Is Failing to Pan Out
09/03/201404:17:42South Africa Seeks Greater Black-Empowerment Stake in BHP Assets...
09/03/201404:10:04South Africa Seeks Greater Black-Empowerment Stake in BHP Assets
09/03/201401:14:51LONDON MARKETS: Weir, Tesco Climb As FTSE 100 Edges Up
09/02/201410:26:36LONDON MARKETS: BHP, Rio Tinto Shares Higher As FTSE 100 Gains
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

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