Britain’s stocks fell amid a slump in mining stocks and as renewed selling in crude jarred financial markets.
BHP Billiton Ltd. slumped 6.1 percent after making a larger-than-expected cut to its dividend, lowering the payout for the first time in 15 years. Peers Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc also fell, making the industry the worst performing in Europe. Standard Chartered Plc dropped 6.7 percent, the most since 2014, after reporting a surprise full-year loss.
London Stock Exchange Group Plc soared 14 percent after saying it is in merger talks with Deutsche Boerse AG, a tie-up that would create one of the biggest exchange companies in the world. InterContinental Hotels Group Plc rose 3.5 percent after saying it plans to return $1.5 billion to shareholders in the form of a special dividend.
The FTSE 100 Index lost 1.3 percent to 5,962.31 in London, extending this year’s drop to 4.5 percent. So far this year, British stocks have performed better than any other major market in western Europe, and a gauge tracking FTSE 100 Index volatility fell to its lowest level since December relative to the broader region.
The broader FTSE All-Share Index fell 1.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index retreated 0.9 percent.