U.K. stocks were little changed as a report showed manufacturing output climbed more than forecast, offsetting a decline by London-listed mining companies.
InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG) gained the most in a year after posting a 20 percent increase in first-half profit as revenue from the Americas rose. Standard Chartered Plc (STAN)climbed 4.1 percent after saying sales increased in the first half of this year. Fresnillo Plc (FRES) lost 6.2 percent after the gold and silver producer cut its interim dividend by 68 percent from a year earlier because precious metals have slumped.
The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) added 3.06 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 6,622.64 at 2:34 p.m. in London. The gauge has rallied 9.9 percent from a low on June 24 as the Federal Reserve said it remains flexible on the pace of bond buying and as the Bank of England gave forward guidance on interest rates for the first time. The broader FTSE All-Share Index slipped less than 0.1 percent today. Ireland’s ISEQ Index rose 0.2 percent, for its longest winning streak in almost seven months.
“Economic and corporate fundamentals are slowly improving,” said Andy Lynch, a portfolio manager at Schroder Investment Management Ltd. in London. “The market has got a bit ahead of itself and any pullback would make a lot of sense. We have a few companies we’d like to buy at lower levels. The Fed can’t be there forever. You can’t have your parents around all the time. At some point you have stand on your own two feet.”
U.K. manufacturing output increased 1.9 percent in June after shrinking for two consecutive months, a report from the Office for National Statistics showed today. Total industrial production rose 1.1 percent in June, after remaining unchanged in May. Both readings exceeded the median economist predictions.
Companies on the FTSE 100 will post combined earnings of 522.7 pence a share this year, according to analysts’ projections compiled by Bloomberg. That would be a 56 percent increase from 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Analysts predicted sales will increase 5.3 percent in 2013.
The U.K. economy will probably grow 1 percent in 2013 and 1.6 percent in 2014, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Last year, the economy grew at its slowest pace since 2009.
In the U.S., Fed Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher told investors yesterday that the central bank will not rescue them every time asset prices fall.