Bloomberg News

U.K. Stocks Drop; RBS, HSBC Shares Pace Decline of FTSE 100

June 20, 2011

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks declined for the third day in four as European governments failed to agree on a payment to spare Greece from default.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc fell 4.4 percent as the bank sold shares on behalf of its employees. Charter International Plc tumbled 25 percent, the most since 2003, after the manufacturer of equipment such as welding gear predicted that 2011 profit will miss company estimates.

The FTSE 100 slumped 0.4 percent to 5,693.39 at the 4:30 p.m. close in London. The gauge has declined four consecutive weeks and is 6.5 percent below this year’s highest close, reached Feb. 8, amid concern that Greece may default on its debt. The FTSE All-Share Index slid 0.5 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index declined 0.2 percent.

“Until markets see some solid plans put in place to deal with Greece, the markets are only going to be heading in one direction,” said Simon Furlong, a sales trader at Spreadex Ltd. in St. Albans, England.

Stocks fell as euro-area finance ministers put off a decision on whether Greece will get the full 12 billion euros ($17.1 billion) promised for July as they pushed for budget cuts by Prime Minister George Papandreou, whose government faces a confidence motion this week.

RBS fell to 38.51 pence, extending its 12-month loss to 18 percent. HSBC Holdings Plc declined 0.6 percent to 603.5 pence.

SuperGroup, Inmarsat

SuperGroup Plc sank 4.1 percent to 863 pence after the retailer said sales growth in the fiscal first quarter wasn’t much better than in the three previous months.

“The SuperGroup trading statement today has not reassured investors as much as we’d have expected, with the bears dwelling on the vibes about a weak May rather a strong June,” Nick Bubb, a London-based analyst at Arden Partners, wrote in a report today, maintaining a “buy” recommendation on the shares.

Inmarsat Plc rallied 4.6 percent to 590.5 pence as billionaire Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc. reached a 15-year deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. to share network expansion costs and equipment, and to provide high-speed wireless service to the phone company. The deal will be “materially positive” for Inmarsat, Goldman Sachs analysts wrote today.

--Editors: David Risser, Tom Lavell

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in London at ahaigh1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net


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