By Dow Jones Business News, March 05, 2013, 12:14:00 PM EDT
By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.K. stocks closed Tuesday at their highest level in more than five years after data showed
Britain's services sector expanded for a second straight month in February, while a global equity rally sent Wall
Street's Dow Jones Industrial Average to an all-time high.
The FTSE 100 index rose 1.4% to close at 6,431.95, its highest finish since January 2008.
U.S. stocks rallied, pushing the Dow industrials past its all-time intraday and closing highs. See: U.S. stocks rally
to lift Dow to new heights.
Shares of Serco Group PLC rallied almost 9% after the outsourcing company reported a rise in full-year profit and
lifted its dividend to 10.1 pence(US$0.15) from 8.4 pence. See: Serco year pretax net up; dividend increased.
Mining firms were also on the rise, as metals prices rose across the board. Shares of Kazakhmys PLC gained 3.2%, Rio
Tinto PLC (RIO) picked up 3.7% and BHP Billiton PLC ( BHP ) added 3.5%. See: Gold rebounds from three-day price decline.
Shares of Glencore International PLC (GLCNF) advanced 5.7%. The commodity titan reported a 15% rise in revenue for
2012 and proposed raising dividends 5% to $0.1575 a share. Additionally, the company extended the deadline for
completing its merger with Xstrata PLC to April 16 from March 15, the second extension this year.
Shares of Xstrata rose 6.8%, as the miner reported a 14% increase in full-year dividends to $0.455. See: Xstrata net
off on commodity prices, write-downs.
On the data front in the U.K., the Markit/CIPS services purchasing-managers index pointed to the fastest rise in
activity for five months, while business confidence hit a nine-month high. The reading came in at 51.8 in February,
above January's 51.5 and exceeding market expectations.
Banks put in a solid performance, with shares of Standard Chartered PLC rising more than 3% after a well-received
earnings report. The bank said it is seeing good momentum so far this year after posting an 8% rise in full-year
revenue. See: Standard Chartered: Good '13 start after flat '12.
Shares of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) gained 1.9%, Barclays PLC ( BCS ) rose 2.3% and HSBC Holdings PLC ( HBC )
inched 0.6% higher.
Among other notable gainers, shares of John Wood Group PLC jumped 7.9% after the energy-services company said it
would boost dividends 26%. See: John Wood year profit jumps; total payout up 26%.
Shares of Hammerson PLC gained 2.4% after Bank of America Merrill Lynch lifted the real-estate investment firm to buy
"Hammerson is now very much on the front foot, with a clear focus and ambition, a healthy balance sheet, an attractive
development program and solid earnings momentum," the analysts said in a note.
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