U.K. stocks fell, after rising last week, as investors considered growing international tension over Russia’s involvement in the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet in Ukraine, and as a report showed house prices fell.
Barratt Developments Plc and Persimmon Plc dropped more than 2 percent each. British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc lost 1.5 percent as people familiar with the matter said 21st Century Fox Inc. may agree to sell its wholly-owned Sky Italia unit and its 57 percent stake in Sky Deutschland AG to BSkyB in the next two weeks. Tesco Plc rose 1.3 percent after announcing the appointment of a new chief executive officer.
The FTSE 100 Index retreated 21.01 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,728.44 at the close of trading in London. Shares rose last week as merger-and-acquisitions activity outweighed concern about the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The FTSE All-Share index fell 0.3 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ index lost 0.4 percent.
Russia faces further sanctions as the world questions the country’s involvement in the Malaysian Airlines plane crash in Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday that circumstantial evidence suggests that Russia provided Ukrainian rebels with the missile used to shoot down the jet. Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that the MH17 crash should not be used to advance political aims.
Property prices across England and Wales fell 0.8 percent in July from June, for their first decline since December, according to a report from Rightmove Plc. Asking prices for London property fell 0.4 percent -- their second consecutive monthly drop -- as an increase in the number of homes for sale softened the market for sellers.
Barratt Developments Plc, the U.K.’s third-largest housebuilder by market value, fell 2.6 percent to 354.2 pence. Persimmon Plc, the largest, retreated 2.3 percent to 1,246 pence
BSkyB slipped 1.5 percent to 904 pence. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. may agree to sell its Italian and German pay-TV assets to BSkyB so it can use the proceeds to boost its offer for Time Warner Inc., according to two people familiar with the matter.
Tesco rose 1.3 percent to 288.7 pence. The grocer announced the appointment of Dave Lewis, the head of Unilever’s personal-care unit, to succeed CEO Philip Clarke, after first-half profit trailed its expectations.