U.K. Stocks Fall; Standard Chartered, HSBC Lead Decliners

U.K. stocks declined, snapping a seven-day winning streak for the FTSE 100 Index (UKX), as Standard Chartered Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) led shares lower.

Standard Chartered slipped 3.7 percent as Carson Block, the short seller who runs Muddy Waters LLC, said he’s betting against the lender’s debt. HSBC dropped 1.2 percent. Lonmin Plc (LMI) gained 5.7 percent after the world’s third-largest platinum producer unexpectedly reported a first-half profit.

The FTSE 100 Index fell 0.3 percent, or 18.91 points, to 6,606.07 at 8:43 a.m. in London. The equity benchmark climbed for a seventh day on Friday, extending its highest level since October 2007. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also lost 0.3 percent today. Ireland’s ISEQ Index was little changed.

European finance ministers will meet in Brussels at 3 p.m. today to review programs for Cyprus and Spain and may sign off on aid payments to Greece.

A report on May 15 may show that the euro region is suffering the longest recession since the single currency’s creation. Gross domestic product in the 17-nation economy fell 0.1 percent in the first three months of 2013, a sixth straight quarterly decline, according to the median of 39 economists’ forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. That would exceed the 15-month long contraction in 2008-2009.

The Confederation of British Industry, Britain’s biggest business lobby group, said company sentiment on the economic outlook has improved as it maintained its forecast for growth to pick up over the next two years. The CBI published quarterly forecasts today showing that the economy will expand 1 percent this year and 2 percent in 2014, the same as it estimated in February.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sofia Horta e Costa in London at shortaecosta@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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