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

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Rio Tinto shares rise after miner holds to iron ore view

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

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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 (

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.

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 (

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 (

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 (

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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