U.K. Stocks Little Changed as FTSE 100 Posts Monthly Drop

U.K. stocks were little changed, after two days of gains, with the benchmark FTSE 100 Index (UKX) posting its third monthly decline this year.

Diageo Plc (DGE) advanced 1 percent after Natixis SA added it to a list of recommended stocks. Mecom Group Plc (MEC) jumped 33 percent after agreeing to a takeover offer from De Persgroep NV. EasyJet Plc (EZJ) slid to a seven-month low after Bank of America Corp. lowered its recommendation on the airline.

The FTSE 100 Index slipped 13.83 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,743.94 at the close in London. The equity gauge dropped 1.5 percent this month, paring quarterly gains to 2.2 percent, amid disappointing euro-area and U.S. data, and investor concern that escalating violence in Iraq will harm global oil supplies. The broader FTSE All-Share Index lost 0.1 percent today, and Ireland’s ISEQ Index declined 0.6 percent.

Diageo rose 1 percent to 1,866 pence as Natixis added the world’s largest distiller to its list of recommended stocks, citing a preference for companies that rely on international markets for revenues. Diageo got more than 80 percent of its sales last year from markets outside western Europe, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mecom surged 33 percent to 152.8 pence, the highest price in more than two years. De Persgroep will buy the publishing group for 155 pence a share, or about 196 million pounds ($334 million), according to a joint statement.

EasyHotel Plc (EZH) added 9.4 percent to 87.5 pence on its first day of trading.

EasyJet declined 6.4 percent to 1,365 pence as Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit downgraded the shares to underperform, similar to sell, from neutral, citing a lack of earnings growth amid industry overcapacity.

To contact the reporter on this story: Namitha Jagadeesh in London at njagadeesh@bloomberg.net

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

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