U.K. Stocks Slide to 15-Month Low as Shire, Banks Decline

U.K. stocks retreated to their lowest level in more than 15 months as Shire Plc extended losses and a gauge of banks declined.

Shire Plc tumbled 7.3 percent, posting its biggest two-day drop since 2002, after AbbVie Inc.’s board recommended that shareholders vote against buying the U.K. drugmaker. TSB Banking Group Plc, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Barclays Plc led a measure of banking stocks lower. Bunzl Plc rose 4.3 percent after reporting higher quarterly sales and saying it plans more acquisitions by the end of the year.

The FTSE 100 Index fell 15.73 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,195.91 at the close of trading in London, after earlier sliding as much as 2.2 percent. Stocks pared declines after St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said the Fed should consider delaying the end of its bond purchase program. The equity gauge has fallen 9.9 percent from its May high amid concerns over global growth. The FTSE All-Share Index slipped 0.2 percent today, and Ireland’s ISEQ Index lost 0.8 percent.

Shire, which AbbVie agreed to buy in July, slid 7.3 percent to 3,718 pence, extending losses since yesterday to 28 percent. AbbVie’s board recommended that shareholders vote against the 32.5 billion-pound ($52 billion) takeover, saying changes in tax regulation did not support the agreed-upon valuation.

TSB lost 2.4 percent to 247.5 pence, Royal Bank of Scotland dropped 1.4 percent to 337.7 pence, and Barclays declined 2 percent to 207.9 pence. A gauge of U.K. banking stocks fell to its lowest level in almost three months.

Bunzl gained 4.3 percent to 1,584 pence after saying third-quarter revenue excluding currency swings rose 6 percent from a year earlier. The distributor of disposable tableware and food packaging also announced the purchase of De Ridder Groep BV and said it will make further acquisitions before the end of the year.

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