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

By Carla Mozee and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

BHP's copper outlook at low end of guidance

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

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The FTSE 100 index was up 0.6% to end at 7,430.91, rallying after finishing down by 0.2% on Tuesday (

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 ( 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.

Check out:Why there is a 'massive' opportunity in British leisure stocks (

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 ( 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 (

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 ( 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)