LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Closes Higher, Boosted By Reckitt Benckiser And Home Builders

By Carla Mozee and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

BHP's copper outlook at low end of guidance

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U.K. stocks closed higher Wednesday, with Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC among the notable advancers after striking a deal to sell its food business.

The FTSE 100 index was up 0.6% to end at 7,430.91, rallying after finishing down by 0.2% on Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-drops-as-us-dollars-slide-boosts-pound-2017-07-18).

Reckitt Benckiser shares (RB.LN) tacked on 1.6%. The consumer-product maker reached a deal to sell its food division for $4.2 billion (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mccormick-to-pay-42b-for-reckitt-benckiser-unit-2017-07-19) to spice seller McCormick & Co. (MKC).

Shares of rival consumer-product heavyweight Unilever PLC (ULVR.LN) were up 0.6%.

McCormick plans to integrate the RB Foods business--which includes French's mustard and Frank's RedHot hot sauce--into its commercial and industrial segments.

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Check out:Why there is a 'massive' opportunity in British leisure stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-there-is-a-massive-opportunity-in-british-leisure-stocks-2017-07-19)

Home-building shares also advanced, with Liberum analysts saying valuation in the sector is attractive.Barratt Developments PLC (BDEV.LN) and Persimmon PLC (PSN.LN) both rose 2.4%

Miners slump: Some mining stocks, meanwhile, declined alongside a dip in dollar-denominated prices for metals including gold . The dollar was up about 0.1% Wednesday. Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS.LN) fell 0.4%, and copper producer Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) shed 0.8%.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BLT.LN) ended 0.5% higher, recovering from an earlier drop that came after the company said it expects copper production to rise by 25%-35% this year, the lower end of revised guidance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bhp-billiton-to-step-up-us-shale-production-2017-07-18). The miner said its output has been held back, in part by a strike at the Escondida mine in Chile.

Rio Tinto PLC (RIO) (RIO) (RIO) slipped less than 0.1%. On Tuesday, the company lowered its export guidance for iron ore (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rio-tinto-reduces-iron-ore-export-forecast-2017-07-17).

The pound bought $1.3037, not far from $1.3041 late Tuesday in New York. Sterling on Tuesday hit an intraday high of $1.3199 as the dollar slid. A stronger pound can put pressure shares of multinational companies that have a heavy weighting on the FTSE 100.

Just fees: Off the main benchmark, shares of food delivery-service company Just Eat PLC (JE.LN) fell 1.1% after the U.K. government said it would ban fees (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/uk-to-ban-rip-off-charges-for-paying-by-credit-card-2017-07-19) paid by consumers to use their debit and credit cards beginning next year. Just Eat is among the companies that charge a fee to customers paying with a credit card.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 19, 2017 12:25 ET (16:25 GMT)