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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
04/17/201513:59:45LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Driven Lower On China-trading Concerns
04/17/201513:59:19EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Mauled By China, Greek Worries;...
04/17/201509:56:59LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Driven Lower On China-trading Concerns
04/17/201509:22:42LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Driven Lower On China-trading Concerns
04/16/201511:05:023 Reasons the Internet of Things Is Set to Boost This Giant Miner's...
04/16/201508:00:41Harworth Group Buys Site of Former Lynemouth Smelter From Rio...
04/16/201507:44:04Fortescue Says Can Withstand Slump in Iron Ore Prices--2nd Update
04/16/201504:25:34Fortescue Says Can Withstand Slump in Iron Ore Prices--Update
04/15/201515:57:48Copper Producers, Analysts Differ on When Prices Will Rise
04/15/201511:12:30Australia Shares End Lower as Data Dampen Sentiment
04/15/201510:11:45Goldman Sachs Downgrades Rio Tinto plc to Sell (RTP)
04/15/201505:03:09LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Moves Higher As Miners Gain; U.K. Inflation...
04/14/201514:09:01LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Wavers As Downgrades Hit BP, Primark...
04/14/201510:08:35Fortescue Overhauls Worker Rosters to Cut Costs -- Update
04/14/201507:58:25S&P warns on global miners including BHP, Rio, Vale
04/14/201506:40:16LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Edges Higher Ahead Of Inflation Data
04/14/201503:09:50Glencore's Chase For Rio Tinto: Coveting The Best House In A...
04/13/201518:09:28ADR Shares End Lower; Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Shares Rise
04/13/201512:42:35LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Eases From Record; BHP Hurt After Downgrade
04/13/201510:22:26BHP slides after Citi downgrade

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