March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Most U.K. stocks fell, dragging the FTSE 100 Index from an eight-month high, as Chinese house-price data added to concern that growth is slowing in the world’s second-largest economy.
CRH Plc, the second-biggest building-materials maker, retreated 2.1 percent in London. Premier Foods Plc sank 4.2 percent after the owner of the Hovis bread and Bisto gravy brands reported an annual loss. Misys Plc rallied 7.4 percent as Vista Equity Partners agreed to buy the company for 1.3 billion pounds ($2.1 billion).
The FTSE 100 fell 4.47, or 0.1 percent, to 5,961.11 at the close in London as three shares declined for every two that gained. The gauge advanced 1.3 percent last week after reports showed that the U.S. economic recovery is strengthening and the euro area’s finance ministers approved a second bailout for Greece, rising to the highest level since July. The FTSE-All Share Index lost 0.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index slipped 0.9 percent.
“We’re still warning investors to be generally cautious in their global portfolios,” said Andrew Milligan, the chief global strategist at Standard Life Investments Ltd. He spoke in a Bloomberg Television interview with Maryam Nemazee.
The number of shares that changed hands on the FTSE 100 today was 13 percent below its 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gauge is trading within 0.7 percent of the 6,000 level.
China House Prices
New home prices fell in 27 of 70 Chinese cities last month from a year earlier, the highest proportion since the government began at the start of 2011 releasing individual data for 70 cities instead of a national average.
CRH slid 2.1 percent to 1,379 pence in London trading. Croda International Plc, whose shares were added to the FTSE 100 today, retreated 3 percent to 2,171 pence.
Premier Foods sank 4.2 percent to 11.5 pence as it reported a full-year loss of 339 million pounds.
“It is hard not to come to the conclusion that these are truly awful results,” Clive Black, an analyst for Shore Capital Group Ltd. in Liverpool wrote today.
Cadogan Petroleum Plc, a London-listed oil and gas explorer in Ukraine, tumbled 7.8 percent to 25.25 pence as Eni SpA decided not to invest further in a project in the eastern European country.
Misys jumped 7.4 percent to 354 pence. Vista Equity Partners agreed to acquire Misys a week after Temenos Group AG ended talks over an all-share merger with the British financial-software maker. Vista, a San Francisco-based private-equity firm, will pay 350 pence a share, the companies said. Misys’s independent directors agreed to recommend the deal to shareholders.
Gem Diamonds Ltd. surged 12 percent to 281 pence as analysts estimated that the supplier to Tiffany & Co. will report that profit more than doubled last year, and after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said demand from China may boost the stock. The mining company is due to report results to investors tomorrow.
Essar Energy Plc, an Indian power producer and oil refiner, surged 14 percent to 141.8 pence, the biggest gain since it first listed in London in May 2010. The shares were added to Bank of America Corp.’s “Europe 1” list of recommended companies.
Essar has still retreated 17 percent this year.
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