LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Rises As Pound Slips On Fresh Election Poll

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Manufacturing PMI on deck at 9:30 a.m.

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U.K. stocks advanced Thursday, getting a boost from a weaker pound, which slid back after another election poll showed a drop in support for Theresa May's governing Conservative Party.

The FTSE 100 index climbed 0.4% to 7,552.74, on track for its first positive close in three sessions.

The benchmark on Wednesday ended 0.1% lower after a choppy session (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-climbs-as-pound-slides-on-election-jitters-2017-05-31), dictated by sharp swings in the pound after a YouGov projection indicated the Conservative Party could lose its parliamentary majority (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/theresa-may-could-lose-majority-in-uk-election-fresh-research-finds-2017-05-31) in next week's election.

Sterling, however, recovered during Wednesday's session to trade above $1.29, after two polls showed the party is currently the leading choice among voters.

In Thursday's trade, the pound suffered again, buying $1.2864, compared with $1.2891 late Wednesday in New York. The fall came after a fresh poll by YouGov, commissioned by The Times newspaper, gave the Tories a three-point lead (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/have-faith-in-me-may-fights-back-with-brexit-r9h0305kw) over the opposition Labour Party. That marks a big shift from the 20-point advantage the Conservatives had in April when the election was called.

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A weaker pound tends to give a boost to the FTSE 100, as about 75% of the revenues generated by the index's companies come from abroad.

Election debate: In other election news, all the major party leaders except for May participated in a televised debate late Wednesday to discuss policies ahead of the June 8 vote.

May was heavily criticized for sending Home Secretary Amber Rudd to represent the Conservatives. The prime minister defended her decision by saying she prefers to "taking questions and meeting people" on the campaign trail rather than "squabbling" with other politicians.

Read:Don't dump the British pound -- buy it, UBS says (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dont-dump-the-british-pound-buy-it-ubs-says-2017-05-31)

Stock movers: The FTSE's big multinationals that benefit from a weak pound were among the biggest gainers.

Shares of defence company Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (RR.LN) (RR.LN) rose 1.8%, drug maker AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.LN) (AZN.LN) added 1.7%, and spirits company Diageo PLC (DEO) (DEO) climbed 1.2%.

Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LLOY.LN) (LLOY.LN) shares fell 0.3%. The lender said it has completed the acquisition of consumer credit card business MBNA Ltd.

Data: The U.K. manufacturing purchasing managers' index for May is due at 9:30 a.m., or 4:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 01, 2017 04:13 ET (08:13 GMT)