By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch
LONDON (MarketWatch) — U.K. stocks dropped for a fourth straight day on Tuesday, as sluggish U.S. confidence data sent markets across Europe into red territory in late trade, while Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC suffered from a tech glitch.
The FTSE 100 index (FTSE:UK:UKX) closed 0.1% lower at 5,446.96. The index dropped 1.1% in Monday trade on concerns that European leaders won’t produce a road map to curb the region’s debt crisis when they meet later in the week in Brussels. Germany cool to EU fiscal union plan: report
Iran oil sanctions move forward
The U.S. and the European Union are gearing up to formally clamp down on Iranian oil exports after deciding there is little chance it will spark an oil-price spike that could slow the global economy.
The urgency for policy action was further highlighted on Tuesday as the Spanish government saw borrowing cost soar at short-term debt auctions. Spain auction pressures EU leaders to act: Schlossberg
In the U.K., banks tracked losses for the financial sector in Europe after a fresh round of bank downgrades in Spain by Moody’s Investors Service. Standard Chartered PLC (LON:UK:STAN) shed 1.5%, Barclays PLC (LON:UK:BARC) (NYS:BCS) gave up 1% and Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:UK:LLOY) (NYS:LYG) tripped 1%.
Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:UK:RBS) (NYS:RBS) dropped 3.8%, as technical issues in the past few days have left millions of customers without access to their money. The bank said in a statement Tuesday that the update of customer account balances had cleared overnight, with the exception of a few specific sets of transactions.
For the broader stock markets, weak U.S. data dragged indexes lower after a gauge of consumer confidence declined for a fourth month in June. Consumer-confidence gauge declines to 62 in June
Mining firms helped curb the losses for the U.K. stock index, with Anglo American PLC (LON:UK:AAL) adding 1.2% and Kazakhmys PLC (LON:UK:KAZ) up 1.2%. Metals prices were, however, mostly lower.
Among other notable movers in London, Croda International PLC (LON:UK:CRDA) picked up 2.7% after J.P. Morgan Cazenove lifted the chemicals firm to overweight from neutral.
Pharmaceutical firm Shire PLC moved up 3.2%, The company dropped 11.3% on Monday, following a U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a rival’s generic version of Shire’s hyperactivity drug Adderall XR.
On Tuesday, analysts at Société Générale, however, lifted the stock to buy from hold as they didn’t “envisage multiple generics will be approved from here.” They further forecast “that Shire will continue to generate revenues and profits from the Adderall XR franchise, albeit at a lower rate than previously forecast.”
Outside the main index in London, Ocado Group PLC (LON:UK:OCDO) tumbled 20.4% after the online retailer reported a rise in first-half profit but said its outlook remained subdued because of a generally challenging economic environment.
For the third quarter, the company mentioned uncertainty as to the effect of the Olympic Games in London.
Stagecoach Group PLC (LON:UK:SGC) jumped 5.5% as it unveiled a nearly 10% boost of its full-year dividend in its preliminary results for the year ended April 30.