U.K. stocks tumbled the most in more than four weeks after a U.S. jobs report missed forecasts and as investors awaited elections in Europe this weekend.
Antofagasta Plc led a selloff in mining shares, falling 3.3 percent. Tullow Oil Plc lost 5.7 percent as crude oil tumbled and partner Kosmos Energy Ltd. abandoned a well off the coast of Ghana. Shares of builders declined as house prices fell the most in 1 1/2 years.
The FTSE 100 Index declined 1.9 percent to 5,655.06 at the close in London, its biggest drop since April 10. That extended the benchmark measure’s loss this week to 2.1 percent. The FTSE All-Share Index fell 2.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index sank 2.8 percent.
U.K. stocks extended losses after a Labor Department report showed that employers in the U.S. added fewer workers in April than forecast, underscoring concern that the world’s largest economy may be slowing.
“The immediate market reaction was to shy away from shares and risk asset classes,” said Joshua Raymond, a market strategist at City Index. The data “strengthens concerns that jobs growth may have topped out earlier in the year.”
U.S. payrolls climbed 115,000, their smallest gain in six months. They increased a revised 154,000 in March, more than the Labor Department initially estimated. The median economist estimate surveyed by Bloomberg News had called for a 160,000 advance last month.
Elections in Europe
Elsewhere, four elections this weekend have the potential to reshape Europe’s political map. Greece will pick a new government, while polls show the French will probably install Francois Hollande as the country’s first Socialist president since Francois Mitterrand in 1995. Italy and Germany will hold local elections.
The FTSE 100 has lost 5.2 percent since reaching its 2012 high on March 16 amid renewed concern that the euro area’s policy makers have yet to contain the debt crisis.
Antofagasta dropped 3.3 percent to 1,072 pence, extending its slump this week to 11 percent. The copper producer yesterday reported a 13 percent decline in first-quarter output.
BHP Billiton Ltd. retreated 3.9 percent to 1,918 pence as copper fell after the U.S. payrolls report. Kazakhmys Plc tumbled 6.2 percent to 774 pence and Xstrata Plc slipped 3.1 percent to 1,131.5 pence.
Oil tumbled 4 percent in New York to below $100 a barrel. BG Group Plc slid 4.3 percent to 1,364 pence. Royal Dutch Shell Group Plc, Europe’s largest oil producer, lost 2 percent to 2,142 pence, while BP Plc lost 3.1 percent to 422.15 pence.
Tullow Oil dropped 5.7 percent to 1,469 pence after Kosmos said it will plug and abandon the Teak-4A appraisal well off Ghana’s coast. The well “encountered thin, non-commercial reservoirs,” the U.S. oil explorer said.
In November, Kosmos said the Teak prospect extended farther than it had thought. Kosmos, with a 30.9 percent interest, operates the West Cape Three Points Block, which includes Teak-4A. Other partners include Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Sabre Oil & Gas Holdings Ltd. and Ghana National Petroleum Corp.
Builders also declined after a Halifax report showed U.K. house prices fell 2.4 percent in April. Barratt Developments Plc tumbled 7.5 percent to 124.3 pence, Persimmon Plc slid 5.8 percent to 589.5 pence and Taylor Wimpey Plc sank 7.7 percent to 47.69 pence.