U.K. Stocks Retreat as AstraZeneca, Shire Shares Decline

U.K. stocks fell for a second day, with the benchmark FTSE 100 Index losing the most in more than six months, as Shire Plc and AstraZeneca Plc declined.

Shire, which AbbVie Inc. agreed to buy earlier this year, slipped 2.5 percent after the U.S. government announced plans to crack down on American companies seeking tax-inversion deals. AstraZeneca and Smith & Nephew Plc, which have received bid interest from U.S. companies, each fell more than 2 percent.

The FTSE 100 retreated 97.55 points, or 1.4 percent, to 6,676.08 at the close of trading in London, after earlier falling as much as 1.9 percent. The equity benchmark gauge dropped 0.9 percent yesterday, and is heading for a quarterly decline of 1 percent. The broader FTSE All-Share Index lost 1.4 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index fell 0.9 percent.

The volume of shares traded in FTSE 100 stocks was 33 percent higher than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said yesterday that the government was prepared to take action to hinder the ability of American companies to save taxes by seeking overseas deals that enable them to change legal address.

Shire slid 2.5 percent to 5,100 pence, paring earlier losses of as much as 6.6 percent. AstraZeneca, the target of a failed bid by Pfizer Inc. in May, dropped 3.6 percent to 4,414 pence. Smith & Nephew, which Stryker Corp. had evaluated as a takeover target, lost 2.8 percent to 1,038 pence.

A gauge of health-care companies in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell the most since Aug. 6. The measure had surged 20 percent this year through yesterday’s close.

Tate & Lyle

Tate & Lyle Plc plunged 17 percent to 610 pence -- its biggest drop in almost seven years -- after saying the first half of the year was challenging because of supply-chain disruptions and competition for its Splenda sweetener. The sugar maker forecast full-year adjusted pretax profit of 230 million pounds ($376 million) to 245 million pounds. That fell short of the 288 million-pound average projection of analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Tesco Plc slid 4.2 percent to 194.5 pence, extending its two-day decline to 15 percent. Alan Stewart will start today as chief financial officer after gaining early release from Marks & Spencer Group Plc, as the U.K.’s biggest grocer seeks to repair the damage from overstating its profit guidance.

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