U.K. Stocks Little Changed as Output Matches ForecastsTrista Kelley
U.K. stocks were little changed as BT Group Plc and commodity producers dropped, while a measure of industrial output matched forecasts.
BT Group retreated the most in almost four weeks. Anglo American Plc and Lonmin Plc fell as South African government-led talks to end a 20-week pay strike at platinum mines failed. Imperial Tobacco Group Plc rose as it said it will list its Logista unit after a share sale that may value the company at as much as $2.5 billion.
The FTSE 100 Index slipped 1.45 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 6,873.55 at the close of trading in London. The equity benchmark has rallied 6.6 percent from this year’s low on Feb. 4 amid increased mergers-and-acquisitions activity. The broader FTSE All-Share Index also dropped less than 0.1 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index lost 0.2 percent.
“This positive growth story in the U.K. may be fully priced in, and we’re not seeing any catalysts,” said Craig Erlam, a London-based market analyst at Alpari U.K. Ltd. “Had we not been trading so well, we would have seen a better reaction to industrial production, but any move above this trading range is a lot to ask at the moment. People seem a little bit cautious.”
U.K. industrial production rose 0.4 percent in April from the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said today in London. That matched the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Output gained a revised 0.1 percent in March.
BT Group retreated 2.4 percent to 396.5 pence, the most since May 15. A gauge of telecommunications companies was among the worst performers today of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Anglo American lost 1.3 percent to 1,452 pence. Talks overseen by South African Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union “have been dissolved without an outcome,” Anglo American, Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Lonmin -- the three biggest platinum producers -- said in a joint statement yesterday. Lonmin dropped 3.2 percent to 242.9 pence.
BG Group Plc lost 0.7 percent to 1,242.5 pence, after earlier falling as much as 2.4 percent. Exane BNP Paribas cut its rating on the natural-gas producer to neutral from outperform, similar to a buy rating, saying investors underestimate the reorganization challenges facing the company’s new chief executive officer.
Imperial Tobacco added 0.8 percent to 2,623 pence. The company plans to list the Logista unit on the Spanish stock exchange. Imperial said it will retain a majority stake in the logistics operation, while selling a portion to institutional investors.
Sepura Ltd. climbed 2.5 percent to 142.5 pence, for its biggest gain in four months, after reporting an 11 percent increase in full-year revenue. The maker of digital radios also raised its 2015 and 2016 growth forecasts for adjusted earnings per share to 15 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
SABMiller Plc gained 5.6 percent to 3,460 pence, for its biggest gain since November 2012. The brewer is a possible takeover target, according to speculation cited by the Financial Times.