U.K. stocks retreated, heading for their biggest drop in four weeks, led by shares of asset managers, as equities from the U.S. to Asia declined amid concern over valuations.
Aberdeen Asset Management Plc (ADN) and Schroders Plc (SDR) led European financial-services companies lower, with each slipping more than 1.5 percent. Ashmore Group Plc (ASHM) tumbled 12 percent after reporting a decline in assets under management. AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) gained 2.6 percent as it forecast that revenue will return to growth sooner than analysts predict.
The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) slid 33.87 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,723.28 at 9 a.m. in London. The index climbed 14 percent in 2013, pushing its valuation at the end of the year to 14.1 times estimated earnings. That compares with a three-year average of 11.1 times projected profit, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The broader FTSE All-Share Index declined 0.5 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.8 percent.
U.S. stocks yesterday posted the biggest loss in two months as investors weighed earnings multiples and as Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said he would support continued cuts to the bond-buying program. The Standard & Poor’s 500 surged 30 percent in 2013, closing the year at its highest valuation since the end of 2009. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 1.4 percent, the most since September.
A report at 8:30 a.m. New York time may show retail sales in the world’s biggest economy increased 0.1 percent in December for a ninth straight month of gains, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales grew 0.7 percent in November.
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