LONDON (MarketWatch) — U.K. stocks slumped for a fourth straight day on Wednesday as concern grew among investors that Scotland will vote for its independence at a referendum next week.
The FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.19% fell 0.3% to 6,806.98, setting it on track for the lowest close since late August.
Scotland jitters: The London benchmark has been hit by fears that Scots will vote to leave the United Kingdom at the independence referendum on Sept. 18. A poll over the weekend showed the pro-independence camp was in the lead for the first time, awakening the world to the scenario that Scotland could leave the union. In recent polls, the outcome has been too close to tell.
Several British parliament members have called on the Queen to intervene to help keep the U.K. together, but the monarch in the Times on Wednesday warned politicians not to drag her into the battle.
The pound GBPUSD, -0.15% took a beating earlier in the week on the Scottish fears, but recovered slightly on Wednesday to trade at $1.6132, up from $1.6116 late Tuesday in New York.
Movers: Sports Direct International PLC SPD, -2.01% dropped 3.4% after the retailer reported first-quarter sales.
Barratt Developments PLC BDEV, +0.25% climbed 0.5% after the house builder said full-year pretax profit more than tripled.
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