U.K. Stocks Drop First Time in Three Days; Centrica Falls

U.K. stocks declined for the first time in three days as Centrica Plc (CNA) led utilities lower and investors awaited data on German investor confidence.

Centrica fell 3.4 percent, snapping a five-day rally, after UBS AG advised investors to sell the stock. A gauge of London-listed utilities fell 1 percent. John Wood Group Plc (WG/) climbed 5.3 percent as the U.K. oil-services provider said it is positioned well to deliver growth this year. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) rose 0.9 percent after the world’s biggest mining company posted first-half profit that beat analysts’ forecasts.

The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) slipped 11.33 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,724.67 at 9:28 a.m. in London. The measure advanced 1.4 percent last week as comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen fueled optimism the U.S. economy can withstand reduced monthly bond purchases. The FTSE All-Share Index fell 0.2 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index retreated 0.3 percent.

A report from the ZEW Center for European Economic Research at 11 a.m. in Mannheim may show its index of investor and analyst expectations slipped to 61.5 this month from 61.7 in January. The gauge, which seeks to predict economic developments six months in advance, increased in December to its highest level in April 2006. A reading above zero signals there are more optimists than pessimists.

A release at at 8:30 a.m. New York may show the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index fell this month after climbing in January to the highest since May 2012, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morgan in Frankfurt at jmorgan157@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net

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