U.K. stocks fell for the third time in four days as a slide in Inmarsat Plc and basic-resources shares outweighed a gain in Wolseley Plc.
Inmarsat fell 1.8 percent after the Sunday Times reported Harbinger Capital Partners is preparing to sell a third of its stake in the world’s biggest provider of satellite services. Rio Tinto Group slipped 1.5 percent. Wolseley rose 1.2 percent after it was initiated at “outperform” at Credit Suisse Group AG.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index fell 36.93, or 0.7 percent, to 5,555.97 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London, extending last week’s 0.1 percent decline. Still, the gauge has rallied 16 percent since this year’s low in July as investors speculated that the world economy will avoid another recession even as European governments slash spending and U.S. growth slows. The FTSE All-Share Index slid 0.6 percent today and Ireland’s ISEQ Index gained 0.5 percent.
“Investors just want to take some money off the table,” Neil Phillips, a fund manager at BlueBay Asset Management Plc in London, which oversees about $38 billion, said today. “The dynamic that caused the outperformance is still very much in play and should reassert itself after the lull in momentum.”
China’s non-manufacturing industries expanded at a faster pace in September. A purchasing managers’ index released yesterday by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing rose to 61.7 from 60.1 in August. The data follow a jump to a four-month high for the manufacturing PMI announced on Oct. 1.
China will address “structural problems” and stabilize its economy by increasing domestic demand, Premier Wen Jiabao said in an interview with CNN broadcast yesterday. Wen said he’d argued before the global recession that China’s economic development “lacks balance, coordination and sustainability.”
A government report today showed U.S. factory orders dropped 0.5 percent in August, pulled lower by a pullback in demand for aircraft. That compared with the 0.4 percent decline projected by the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg News survey.
Inmarsat slumped 2 percent to 655 pence, the lowest price since Aug. 24. Harbinger Capital Partners is preparing to sell a third of its stake in Inmarsat as it seeks to raise money to invest in other companies, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it got the information.
Rio Tinto, the world’s third-largest mining company, retreated 1.5 percent to 3,697 pence, erasing the 0.9 percent rise on Oct. 1 and tracking a 1.2 percent drop among basic resources stocks on the Stoxx 600 Index.
Xstrata Plc, the biggest exporter of coal used in power stations, slipped 2.6 percent, while BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, declined 1.5 percent to 2,026.5 pence. Kazakhmys Plc, Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer, tumbled 2.6 percent to 1,423 pence, the steepest fall since August.
Rockhopper Exploration Plc, the U.K. explorer searching for oil and gas off the Falkland Islands, retreated 4 percent to 441.5 pence, down 9.7 percent since Sept. 29. The company is preparing a $200 million rights offer in the next six weeks to fund drilling, the Sunday Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.
Wolseley climbed 1.2 percent to 1,601 pence, rebounding from the 1.1 percent fall on Oct. 1. The supplier of heating and plumbing products was initiated at “outperform” at Credit Suisse.
Premier Foods Plc soared 10 percent to 17.9 pence, the biggest gain since Sept. 3. The maker of Hovis bread received expressions of interest in its Quorn brand of meat-free products and related units and may sell them, the company said.
Wellstream Holdings Plc increased for a third day, climbing 2 percent to 789 pence. General Electric Co. made a bid worth more than 800 million pounds for the U.K. oilfield-services provider focused on Brazil, the Sunday Times reported, citing unidentified people close to the matter.