U.K. stocks fell, after the benchmark FTSE 100 (UKX) Index rose the most in four weeks yesterday, as investors awaited reports on U.S. services and employment.
Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) contributed the most to the FTSE 100’s drop as Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ:US) refuted a report that it has considered a bid for the British carrier. Kazakhmys Plc (KAZ) and Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. led a decline by mining shares. Schroders Plc climbed 3.1 percent after Numis Securities Ltd. raised its recommendation on the shares.
The FTSE 100 slid 21.77 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,468.89 at 9:51 a.m. in London, after yesterday posting its largest advance since March 5. The equity benchmark has still rallied 9.7 percent so far this year as U.S. lawmakers agreed on a compromise budget and reports on jobs and housing fueled optimism that the world’s biggest economy is recovering. The FTSE All-Share Index decreased 0.3 percent today, while Ireland’s ISEQ Index retreated 0.1 percent.
In the U.S., a report at 10 a.m. New York time may show the services industry, which accounts for about 90 percent of the economy, grew at a slower pace last month. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index fell to 55.5 in March from 56 in February, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey.
A private report on payrolls at 8:15 a.m. will show that companies added 200,000 workers in March, compared with 198,000 a month earlier, economists projected. The ADP Research Institute’s report comes before Friday’s non-farm payrolls release from the Labor Department.
Vodafone lost 1.7 percent to 188.8 pence, the most in a week. Verizon denied that it has discussed making a joint bid for the British mobile-phone operator with AT&T (T:US) Inc.
“As Verizon has said many times, it would be a willing purchaser of the 45 percent stake that Vodafone holds in Verizon Wireless,” the company said (VZ:US) late yesterday. “It does not, however, currently have any intention to merge with or make an offer for Vodafone.”
The FTSE 100’s second-biggest stock yesterday rallied to its highest price since November 2007 as the Financial Times’s Alphaville blog reported that AT&T and Verizon have worked on a joint offer for the world’s second-largest mobile-phone company. The blog cited unidentified people.
Kazakhmys slid 5.1 percent to 350.5 pence, while ENRC sank 7.5 percent to 217.6 pence. A gauge of mining stocks in the FTSE 350 Index slid 1.4 percent as copper prices fell. Rio Tinto Group, the world’s second-largest mining company, retreated 1.4 percent to 3,042 pence.
Schroders (SDR) increased 3.1 percent to 2,202 pence as Numis raised its recommendation on the shares to add from hold, meaning that investors should hold more of the securities than are represented in benchmark indexes. The brokerage cited a stronger balance sheet and predicted that the asset manager’s acquisition of Cazenove Capital Holdings Ltd. will lead to higher earnings.
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