LONDON MARKETS: Unilever Shares Push FTSE Toward First Win In 5 Days

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Rio Tinto shares rise after miner holds to iron ore view

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U.K. stocks inched higher on Thursday, with a gain for Unilever PLC shares helping the benchmark index break a four-session losing streak.

The FTSE 100 index rose 0.1% to 7,117.40, bouncing back from the lowest close since Feb. 1 that it logged on Wednesday.

Stocks have been sliding in recent days, with the fall continuing after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election for June 8. That call on Tuesday spurred a rally in the pound . Analysts put sterling's surge down to hopes for a bigger Conservative majority in parliament, which could put the U.K. in a stronger position to negotiate Brexit with Brussels.

Read:Why the snap U.K. election is a 'game changer' for the pound (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-the-pound-surged-to-10-week-high-after-may-called-snap-uk-election-2017-04-18)

The pound bought $1.2825 on Thursday morning, up from $1.2779 late Wednesday in New York. A stronger pound tends to weigh on the FTSE as it weighs on the financial results of the index's many multinationals that make the bulk of their earnings overseas.

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However, on Thursday a gain for Unilever (ULVR.LN) (ULVR.LN) shares after well received earnings helped boost the London benchmark. Shares of the consumer-products giant were up 1.7% after it reported a rise in underlying sales for the first quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/unilever-sales-rise-but-lag-in-europe-us-2017-04-20).

Shares of Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) added 1.5% after the mining major trimmed its copper production target, but stuck to its guidance for iron ore (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rio-tinto-trims-copper-production-target-2017-04-20).

Burberry Group PLC (BRBY.LN) (BRBY.LN) lost 0.4%, building on a 7.9% slide on Wednesday when the luxury-goods company said underlying revenue fell in the second half of its financial year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/burberry-revenue-down-but-boosted-by-fx-gains-2017-04-19).

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 20, 2017 04:05 ET (08:05 GMT)