U.K. stocks declined as investors weighed reports that showed home prices in 20 U.S. cities surged by the most since February 2006, while American consumer confidence fell.
SABMiller Plc and Diageo Plc fell at least 1.5 percent, following European alcoholic-beverage makers lower, after Remy Cointreau SA predicted a drop in annual profit. Glencore Xstrata Plc lost 2.3 percent after Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit downgraded the stock. Britvic Plc rose 2.8 percent after full-year earnings exceeded analysts’ estimates.
The FTSE 100 Index slid 58.4 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,636.22 at the close in London. The gauge has rallied 13 percent this year, heading for its biggest annual increase since 2009, as central banks around the world pledged to keep interest rates low to support economic recovery. The broader FTSE All-Share Index retreated 0.7 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index slipped less than 0.1 percent.
“Investors want to start closing their risk-profile into the year end, particularly after very strong returns for the market this year,” Gerry Fowler, head of equity and derivative strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London, told Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television. “They want to lock that in and don’t want to take the risk.”
The number of shares changing hands in companies listed on the FTSE 100 was 19 percent greater than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
U.S. data today showed the S&P/Case-Shiller index of house prices in 20 cities increased 13.3 percent in the year through September, after a 12.8 percent gain in the 12-month period through August. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted a gain of 13 percent, according to the median forecast.
A separate report showed U.S. consumer confidence unexpectedly fell to a seven-month low this month. The Conference Board’s index slipped to 70.4 from October’s revised 72.4 reading, missing the median estimate for a gain to 72.6.
SABMiller dropped 2.4 percent to 3,175 pence, for its largest decline in eight weeks, while Diageo retreated 1.6 percent to 1,968 pence. European food and beverage companies were among the worst-performing industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, the regional benchmark. Remy Cointreau, the French maker of Remy Martin cognac, said it expects annual profit to drop as much as 20 percent because of slackening demand in China.
Glencore Xstrata lost 2.3 percent to 304.8 pence. Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the stock to neutral from buy, predicting lower prices for thermal coal, coking coal, zinc and nickel will reduce earnings.
Britvic rose 2.8 percent to 624 pence. The maker of Robinsons fruit drinks posted full-year earnings before interest and tax of 135 million pounds ($218 million), beating the 133.6 million pounds projected by analysts.
BTG Plc surged 14 percent to 522 pence, the largest rally in more than five years. U.S. regulators approved the sale of the biotechnology company’s Varithena drug, a treatment for varicose veins, according to a statement.
Mitchells & Butlers Plc rose 3.5 percent to 404.7 pence, its biggest increase since August. The owner of the All Bar One pub chain said adjusted earnings increased 17 percent to 34.9 pence per share for the full year. That exceeded the 33.6 pence average analyst estimate.