U.K. stocks fell Wednesday, with shares of BHP Billiton PLC and J Sainsbury PLC among those pulling the market’s blue-chip benchmark toward its third consecutive decline.
The FTSE 100 UKX, -0.83% lost 0.4% to 6,161.50, with only the industrial and utilities sectors moving higher. The index on Tuesday dropped 0.9% as commodity shares struggled, and marked its lowest close since April 7.
At the bottom of the index Wednesday were shares of iron ore heavyweight BHP Billiton PLC BLT, -7.31% BHP, -7.85% BHP, -9.36% which fell 5.7%. The move came after Brazilian federal prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday over a catastrophic dam failure in November. Prosecutors are seeking up to 155 billion reais ($43.55 billion) for cleanup and remediation. The dam was run by Samarco Mineração, a joint venture between BHP and Brazilian miner Vale SA VALE5, -6.53% VALE, -7.79%
Meanwhile, shares of oil major Royal Dutch Shell PLC RDSB, -1.09% RDS.B, -2.67% slipped 0.3%. The oil major said quarterly adjusted earnings fell to $1.6 billion from $3.7 billion a year earlier, but that still beat analysts’ expectations.
Also in the red were shares of J Sainsbury SBRY, -4.69% They fell 4.1% after the grocer cut its dividend payout in a continued effort to manage costs. The U.K.’s second-largest grocer by market share swung to a fiscal year pretax profit of £548 million.
Separately, a survey from Kantar showed the top four U.K. grocers lost market share during the 12 weeks ended April 24 to German discounters Aldi and Lidl. Shares of grocers Tesco PLC TSCO, -2.75% TSCDY, -3.09% and Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC MRW, -3.04% fell 2.9% and 4%, respectively.
But topping the FTSE 100 was Next PLC NXT, +4.26% picking up 2.5%. The apparel and household retailer cut its full-year forecast and posted a quarterly decline in brand sales. But a more than 4% rise in sales in its directory business helped lift Next’s shares, said Hargreaves Lansdown in a note.
The pound GBPUSD, -0.4678% fell 0.3% to $1.4498 after data firm Markit said U.K. construction activity slumped to the lowest since 2013 in April, to a reading of 52.0. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected a reading of 54.