UK FTSE 100 tips toward third straight decline

U.K. stocks are struggling for direction Monday, though energy company shares slipped as oil prices continued to drive lower.

The FTSE 100 was down less than 1 point at 6,145.50. Utility, consumer and services shares were higher, while oil, telecom and financial shares pulled lower.

A loss on Monday would be the London benchmark’s third consecutive decline. The index on Friday shed 0.5%.

Shares of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC lost 0.7%, while BP PLC was off 0.3% as oil prices dropped more than 1%, with Brent crude below $39 a barrel.

The oil market was still feeling the sting from comments Friday by Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince, who said his country will freeze production only if Iran and other major producers agree to do the same.

Other decliners Monday were engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC,down 0.8%. But department store operator Marks & Spencer Group PLC rose 1.4%.

The pound was off 0.1% at $1.4213 ahead of a report on U.K. construction activity in March.

Source: MarketWatch