U.K. Stocks Drop, Erasing 2012 Gains, on Greek Concern
U.K. stocks declined, with the FTSE 100 Index (UKX) erasing its gains this year, as a Greek left-wing leader who opposes the terms of the Mediterranean nation’s financial rescue got the mandate to form the next government.
Mining companies including Xstrata Plc (XTA) dropped with metal prices. Man Group Plc, the world’s largest listed hedge-fund manager, fell for a sixth day on concern it faces outflows. Telecity Group Plc (TCY) tumbled 4.7 percent after the Internet technology company reported its latest results.
The benchmark FTSE 100 slid 1.8 percent to 5,554.55 at the close in London. The gauge, which rallied as much as 7.1 percent since the beginning of 2012 through March 16, was little changed for the year today. The FTSE 100 also closed below its 200-day simple moving average for the first time this year. The FTSE All-Share Index fell 1.9 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index tumbled 1.7 percent.
The voters’ rejection of austerity plans “has the potential to shock markets,” said Kevin Lecocq, global chief investment officer at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management, in a note to clients today. “We still think it very likely that solutions will be found, but stand ready to change this view -- and our positions in the markets -- should the European situation worsen.”
Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party placed second in Greek elections on May 6, said he would forge ahead with plans to form a coalition government of left-wing parties after he was handed the mandate by President Karolos Papoulias.
“The Greek election result was a vote against a barbaric bailout,” he said in statements televised live in Athens on state NET TV. “There will be no 11 billion euros of additional austerity measures, 150,000 jobs will not be cut.”
Antonis Samaras, the leader of the New Democracy party in Greece, earlier said he failed to form a government after the weekend’s elections.
The gauge dropped to minus 19 from minus 11 in March, according to a report today by London-based RICS, which conducts a monthly poll of property surveyors across the country. A reading below zero means more surveyors saw price drops than gains last month.
Xstrata fell 3.8 percent to 1,089 pence and Glencore International Plc (GLEN) retreated 4.5 percent to 392 pence. Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) declined 6.8 percent to 4,773 pence as gold tumbled below $1,600 an ounce for the first time since January and copper decreased the most in almost five weeks in New York.
Man Group declined 7.1 percent to 82.45 pence, the lowest since February 2000, on concern the company is struggling with outflows. The company reported May 1 that clients withdrew a net $1 billion in the first quarter as its AHL computerized trading system underperforms.
“Man remains binary -- either AHL reverts to trend, and it is extremely cheap, or it doesn’t and it isn’t,” a team of analysts at Bank of America Corp. wrote in a report today. “But as the price falls, one branch of this binary becomes increasingly overweighed. Every time the price falls on the basis of no news or solid news, the balance becomes more tilted to new investors.” The bank rates Man Group (EMG) as buy.
Telecity tumbled 4.7 percent to 762 pence even after the company reported “good growth” in sales and profitability for last quarter. Numis Securities cut the stock to hold from add, citing “ adverse movement” in currencies that will trigger profit estimate downgrades.
Punch Taverns Plc (PUB), a pub operator, plunged 11 percent to 8.67 pence. The company may start negotiations to restructure its debt after the Olympic Games, the Financial Times reported, citing a person close to the situation it didn’t identify. [bn:WBTKR=IMG:LN]
Imagination Technologies Group Plc (IMG) , whose designs are used in Apple Inc.’s new iPad and other tablets and smartphones, tumbled 11 percent to 544 pence, extending the 7.6 percent decline on May 4. Reuters reported last week that Samsung Electronics Co.’s new S 111 smartphone uses a chip designed by rival company ARM Holdings Plc.
Home Retail Group Plc (HOME), the U.K. owner of the Argos and Homebase chains, plunged 10 percent to 73 pence. The company has dropped 28 percent since May 2, when it said it won’t pay a final dividend and reported annual profit fell 60 percent.
Aviva Plc (AV/), the U.K.’s second-biggest insurer, climbed as much as 5.8 percent to 319.8 pence before paring the advance. The company said Chief Executive Officer Andrew Moss stepped down following investor protests over executive compensation. The insurer’s incoming chairman, John McFarlane, will immediately become interim executive deputy chairman.
“A new CEO candidate would potentially have a clear mandate to undertake a radical restructuring to set the group on a more viable capital and earnings base going forward,” Citigroup Inc. analyst Raghu Hariharan in London wrote in a note to clients.
Tullow Oil Plc (TLW), the U.K. explorer with the most licenses in Africa, advanced 3.3 percent to 1,517 pence, its biggest gain in six weeks. Exploration Director Angus McCoss said the Ngamia-1 exploration well in Kenya has discovered oil “more than double that encountered in any of our East African exploration wells to date.”
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