By Dow Jones Business News,
January 07, 2014, 12:11:00 PM EDT
By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
MADRID (MarketWatch) -- London stocks closed higher on Tuesday, driven by banks and more data confirming the U.K.
The FTSE 100 index rose 0.4% to end at 6,755.45 after the index closed slightly higher on Monday.
In the banking sector, Lloyds Banking Group PLC ( LYG ) rose 3% and HSBC Holdings PLC ( HSBC ) gained 2.4%. Royal Bank
of Scotland Group PLC ( RBS ) rose 1.8% and Barclays PLC ( BCS ) gained 1.2%.
Euro-zone data showed the annual rate of inflation fell across the region and further below the European Central
Bank's target in December, prompting some speculation that the central bank may need to address falling prices, or maybe
try to stimulate the economy further. Banks have been a key beneficiary of easy money policy by central banks.
U.K. data showed new car sales surging 11% in 2013 versus 2012, the best year since pre-recession 2007, said the U.K.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Sales for December rose 24%, the 22nd-straight monthly rise.
Oil prices rose Tuesday as a portion of the U.S. remained locked in bitter cold, with BP PLC (BP) up 1%.
Broker moves triggered action for several stocks.
Shares of Severn Trent PLC fell 2.2% after J.P. Morgan Cazenove downgraded the water company to underweight from
neutral. It cited concerns about rising regulatory risks, and a decreasing likelihood of mergers and acquisitions
Away from the main index, retailer Debenhams PLC fell 0.5% after HSBC cut it to neutral from overweight, citing a
poor Christmas sales season. HSBC lifted fellow retailer Next PLC to overweight from neutral, but retailers across the
U.K. remained under pressure. Next shares fell 0.7%, while Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC lost 1.1%.
More news from MarketWatch:
What could go wrong for stocks?
Polar vortex turns boiling water into snow -- and worse
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.