By Dow Jones Business News, March 05, 2013, 06:04:00 AM EDT
By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.K. stocks rallied on Tuesday, with resource firms and banks in the lead, after data showed
the country's services sector expanded for a second straight month in February.
The FTSE 100 index gained 0.8% to 6,395.53, climbing back from a 0.5% loss on Monday.
Shares of Serco Group PLC rallied 11% 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 2.3%, Rio
Tinto PLC (RIO) picked up 2.3% and BHP Billiton PLC ( BHP ) added 1.2%. See: Gold rebounds from three-day price
Shares of Glencore International PLC (GLCNF) put on 2%. 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 2.8%, 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 posted 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 solid performances, with shares of Standard Chartered PLC rising 2.8% 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 2.4%, Barclays PLC ( BCS ) rose 1.1% and HSBC Holdings PLC
( HBC ) inched 0.2% higher.
Among other notable gainers, shares of John Wood Group PLC jumped 7.4% after the energy-services company said it
would boost dividends 26%. See: John Wood year profit jumps; total payout up 26%
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