U.K. stocks closed little changed as slower-than-forecast economic growth in Japan increased concern among investors that the global recovery is faltering.
BP Plc sank 1.6 percent, accounting for the biggest decline in the benchmark FTSE 100 Index, as the energy company delayed its relief well amid the risk of a new oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Cairn Energy Plc surged 5.3 percent after Vedanta Resources Plc agreed to buy as much as 60 percent of the company’s Indian oil unit.
The FTSE 100 gained less than 0.1 percent at 5,276.1 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London. The FTSE All-Share Index was unchanged and Ireland’s ISEQ Index slipped 0.4 percent. A report today showed Japan’s economy unexpectedly grew at the slowest pace in three quarters, pushing it into third place behind the U.S. and China.
“This lackluster data, on top of the concerns expressed last week by the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and European Central Bank about global growth prospects, continues to weigh on risk appetite,” said Michael Hewson, a markets analyst at CMC Markets in London.
The FTSE 100 declined 1.1 percent last week after the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy’s recovery is likely to be “more modest” than forecast and the Bank of England cut its prediction for U.K. growth. The gauge remains 9.4 percent below this year’s high on April 15 amid concern that growth in the U.S. and China is slowing and that austerity measures from European governments will hurt the region’s economic recovery.
Separate U.S. data today showed manufacturing in the New York region expanded less than forecast in August as orders and sales declined for the first time in more than a year.
BP, Cairn, Vedanta
BP fell 1.6 percent to 409.75 pence. The company’s relief well and bottom-kill procedures, aimed at permanently plugging the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, are suspended until the company completes an analysis of complications that might result in a new oil leak.
Cairn rallied 5.3 percent to 493.2 pence. London-based Vedanta will pay a total of about $8.5 billion to $9.6 billion in cash, the company said in a statement today. Cairn Energy, Cairn India’s parent, said it will return part of the cash to shareholders and invest the rest in exploration off Greenland and elsewhere. Vedanta may struggle to fund a 51 percent stake in Cairn Energy India without raising additional capital, according to a report from BofA-Merrill Lynch Global Research today. Vedanta shares climbed 4.8 percent to 2,153 pence.
Hunting Plc, an energy services company, climbed 7.1 percent to 561.5 pence after it agreed to buy Innova-Extel, a supplier of harsh-environment electronics, for $125 million.
In Ireland, Bank of Ireland Plc lost 3.6 percent to 76 euro cents and Allied Irish Banks Plc declined 4.3 percent to 80.2 cents.
Ireland may face rising borrowing costs at an auction of four and 10-year bonds tomorrow as concern deepens that a bank bailout will make it harder for the nation to contain its budget deficit, the biggest in the euro region. The yield on six-month bills at an Aug. 12 sale was 2.46 percent, a 100 basis-point jump in three weeks.