U.K. Stocks Decline on Euro-Area Industry Data
U.K. stocks fell, snapping four days of gains, as a report showed euro-area industrial output fell more than expected in January.
G4S Plc (GFS) lost 1.8 percent after posting 2012 profit that missed analysts’ estimates. Balfour Beatty Plc (BBY) fell 2.1 percent after the stock was downgraded at HSBC Holdings Plc. Prudential Plc jumped to the highest price in 12 years after raising its dividend.
The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) dropped 46.14 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,464.48 at 10:15 a.m. in London. Six companies on the benchmark gauge trade ex-dividend today, wiping about 10.8 points of the measure. The broader FTSE All-Share Index lost 0.7 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.2 percent.
Euro-area industrial production dropped 0.4 percent in January, after increasing a revised 0.9 percent in December, a report showed today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 32 economists had called for a 0.1 percent decline in the first month of 2013.
U.S. data today may show sales at U.S. retailers climbed 0.5 percent in February for a fourth months of gains, according to the median economist forecast in a Bloomberg Survey. That would follow a 0.1 percent gain in January. The Commerce Department releases the figures at 8:30 a.m. Washington time.
G4S slid 1.8 percent to 302.1 pence. The world’s largest security company reported 2012 profit of 48 million pounds, missing analysts’ estimates of 178 million pounds. Full-year sales stood at 7.5 billion pounds, trailing analysts’ projections for 8.02 billion pounds.
Balfour Beatty, the U.K.’s largest construction company fell 2.1 percent to 266.3 pence. The stock was downgraded to neutral from overweight at HSBC, which said the outlook for the construction business is tougher than anticipated.
Prudential (PRU) rose 2.8 percent to 1,058 pence, the highest price since January 2001. The U.K.’s biggest insurer by market value raised its dividend 16 percent as 2012 operating profit beat estimates.
The full-year payout increased to 29.19 pence a share in 2012, compared with 25.19 pence a share a year earlier, the London-based firm said. That beat the 26.5 pence a share median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Thomas Cook Plc surged 11 percent to 96.75 pence. The 171- year-old U.K. tour operator said it will raise as much as 150 million pounds from disposals and is increasing cost cuts to achieve profitability targets.
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