U.K. stocks declined for a second day, as data showed German business sentiment fell more than expected and house sellers in U.S. cities are losing some of their pricing power.
Aviva Plc (AV/) retreated 1.1 percent after UBS AG cut its rating on the insurer. Shire (SHP) Plc added 2.4 percent after a report that the drugmaker hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as it faces a potential takeover. BP Plc climbed as a measure of European oil companies gained.
The FTSE 100 Index (UKX) fell 13.49 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,787.07 at the close in London. The benchmark U.K. equity gauge added 0.7 percent last week as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen vowed to keep interest rates low. The broader FTSE All-Share Index lost 0.3 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index dropped 0.5 percent.
“European data is a bit concerning,” Keith Bowman, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Plc in London, said by telephone. “Investors are following the situations in Iraq and Ukraine closely.”
A report today showed that the Ifo institute’s business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, slipped to 109.7 in June from 110.4 in May. The median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a drop to 110.3.
U.S. data showed the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index increased to 85.2 this month, the strongest reading since January 2008, from 82.2 in May. A separate report showed property prices in 20 U.S. cities rose at a slower pace than forecast in the year ended in April. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 10.8 percent from April 2013, the smallest 12-month gain in more than a year, after rising 12.4 percent in March.
An al-Qaeda offshoot calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has consolidated its hold over swaths of Iraq, OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer, after two weeks of fighting. The U.S. said Iraq faces an existential threat and sent Secretary of State John Kerry to persuade Iraqi leaders to form a more inclusive government.
In Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the upper house of parliament to rescind approval granted March 1 to use force in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said by phone. Pro-Russian forces in Ukraine called a cease-fire in fighting against government forces, matching a truce announcement made earlier by President Petro Poroshenko.
Aviva lost 1.1 percent to 504.5 pence, the lowest price since April. UBS cuts its recommendation on the London-based company to neutral, similar to hold, from buy, saying management needs to do more to control costs as lower reserve growth in the life insurance business damps profitability.
Shire advanced 2.4 percent to 4,404 pence. The Dublin-based company hired Goldman after turning down a $46 billion bid from Chicago-based AbbVie (ABBV) Inc., the New York Times reported. AbbVie is considering raising its bid for a fourth time, two people with knowledge of the matter said last week.
BP Plc climbed 0.8 percent to 523.9 pence, the highest price in more than four years. The conflict in Iraq poses a bigger risk to long-term oil prices than traders anticipate, with prices likely to rise as supply is constrained, according to banks including Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp.
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