LONDON MARKETS: FTSE 100 Slips As Miners Sag, But Deal Lifts Reckitt Benckiser Shares

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

BHP's copper outlook at low end of guidance

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U.K. stocks edged lower Wednesday, with mining shares acting as a drag on the blue-chip benchmark, but Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC advanced after striking a deal to sell its food business.

The FTSE 100 index was down 0.1% at 7,381.70, giving up a gain of 0.3% at the open of the session. Basic material and industrial shares were among sectors in the red, while consumer-related shares rose. The London benchmark on Tuesday finished down by 0.2% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-drops-as-us-dollars-slide-boosts-pound-2017-07-18) after a choppy session.

Topping the index on Wednesday was Reckitt Benckiser (RB.LN) as its shares tacked on 1.4%. 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 0.1%.

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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Miners down: Mining shares, meanwhile, declined alongside a drop in dollar-denominated prices for metals including gold and platinum . The dollar was up 0.2% early Wednesday. Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS.LN) fell 1.2%, and copper producer Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) shed 0.6%.

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BLT.LN) was down 1.1% 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 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 $1.3039, 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.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 19, 2017 04:02 ET (08:02 GMT)