FTSE 100 watch: Footsie subdued as French election looms

Unilever shares rally after results

FTSE 100 watch: Footsie subdued as French election looms

The UK benchmark index has slipped marginally into the red, with investors eyeing the coming election in France which is adding to the global uncertainty that has weighed on sentiment this week. In individual movers, Unilever (LON:ULVR) has climbed to the top of the blue-chip leaderboard after updating investors on its first-quarter performance this morning.

As of 12:32 BST, the FTSE 100 index had lost 1.25 points to stand 0.02 percent lower at 7,113.11, with investors staying on the sidelines ahead of the first round of France’s presidential elections on Sunday. At home, earlier this week, Prime Minister Theresa May called for snap election in June, which boosted the pound.

“Equity markets are mixed with the UK’s FTSE down and underperforming on account of the oil price drop’s disproportionate influence, compounding additionally unwelcome GBP strength to hurt its significant international exposure,” Mike van Dulken of Accendo Markets commented, as quoted by The Telegraph.

In individual movers, shares in Unilever have been in demand today after the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group posted better-than-expected quarterly sales and hiked its payout to shareholders as promised in a recent review. Unilever’s share price is currently 1.24 percent better off at 3,986.50p.

Shares in Ashtead (LON:AHT) meanwhile have fallen deep into the red following downbeat results at US peer United Rentals. Sharecast quoted analysts at RBC Capital markets as noting today that the UK group has ‘considerably stronger growth momentum’ from its US-based Sunbelt unit, continues to push up margins and has much less exposure to oil and gas and no material exposure to Canada. Ashtead’s share price is currently 4.06 percent worse off at 1,558.00p.

The FTSE 100 index was 0.05 percent lower at 7,111.12 points as of 12:49 BST on Thursday, 20 April 2017.

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