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

By Preeti Upadhyaya, MarketWatch LONDON (MarketWatch) -- An unexpected drop in U.K. unemployment boosted the stock market Wednesday, while U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's statements suggested the central bank was prepared for more stimulus measures if needed. The FTSE 100 index closed 1% higher at 5,685.77. London's main equities benchmark got a lift from the U.K. jobless rate, which dropped to 8.1% for the three-month period ended 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. Minutes from The Bank of England's decision earlier this month showed a 7-2 vote 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. UK rates The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to keep the bank's key interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, but it's "keeping the door open" to an autumn rate cut, according to a note from analysts at Danske Bank. "Despite voting unanimously to keep the base rate unchanged at 0.5%, it seems that a 25 basis point rate cut could be on the cards if the current round of asset purchases does not have the desired effect on the economy," the note said. "We have long been skeptical about the effectiveness of additional [quantitative easing] in its traditional form and have argued for the use of other measures." Central-bank action was also in the spotlight in the U.S., where the Fed's Ben Bernanke wrapped up the second day of his twice-a-year monetary- policy testimony before Congress. The chairman maintained that the central bank stands ready to act and inject more stimulus if needed, but he did not bring any detailed plans of further quantitative easing to the table. Movers Precious-metals firm Fresnillo PLC led the FTSE 100 higher, rising 1.6% after reporting record gold production for the fiscal second quarter. Mining giant BHP Billiton (BHP) fell 2%, despite 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 0.5%. Metals prices were down overall. Also on the move, shares of investment firm Ashmore Group PLC climbed 2.6% after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating to buy from neutral. Heavyweight bank HSBC Holdings PLC (HBC) slipped 0.3%, 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%, rebounding from losses earlier in the week as it grappled with its London Olympics security-contract fiasco. RSA Insurance Group PLC rose 0.6% even after saying in a statement that record rains in the U.K. could cost the firm around 40 million pounds, or $62.5 million. United Utilities Group PLC fell 0.3%, while Reed Elsevier PLC dropped 1.6% and Hammerson PLC shed 0.6%. Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

Stock News for Companhia Vale (RIO)
DateTimeHeadline
02/19/201709:43:00Mining Giants Ride Copper's Wave
02/09/201717:28:00Shell CFO Among 3 Directors Named to Rio Tinto Board
02/09/201710:52:00Workers at BHP Billiton Copper Mine In Chile Go On Strike...
02/08/201705:16:00Rio Tinto Rewards Investors After Return to Profit
02/08/201701:42:00Rio Tinto Returns to Profit, Plans Share Buyback
02/07/201720:28:00Workers at World's Biggest Copper Mine Prepare for Strike
02/07/201700:34:00Rio Tinto Gifts Bunder Diamond Project to Government of Madhya...
02/04/201718:15:00Rio Tinto, Other Miners Get Pickup From Prices
02/04/201707:29:00Rio Tinto, Other Miners Get Pickup From Prices
02/01/201704:28:00Savannah Resources: Ravene Drill Program Completed at Mutamba
01/24/201717:52:00ADRs End Mostly Higher; BT Trades Actively
01/24/201710:25:00Rio Tinto Unloads Most of Its Coal Assets in $2.4 Billion Deal...
01/24/201704:49:00Rio Tinto to Sell Coal & Allied
01/16/201717:27:00Rio Tinto Annual Iron Ore Shipments Rise
01/09/201714:01:00The Law Offices of Howard G. Smith Announces the Filing of a...
01/05/201719:37:00SHAREHOLDER ALERT: Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP Encourages Investors...
12/28/201622:00:00INVESTOR ALERT: Brower Piven Encourages Shareholders Who Have...
12/23/201616:33:00RIO LOSS NOTICE: Rosen Law Firm Reminds Rio Tinto plc Investors...
12/23/201609:50:00INVESTOR ALERT: Levi & Korsinsky, LLP Notifies Shareholders of...
12/20/201603:02:00Israel Arrests Diamond Magnate -- WSJ

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