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FTSE 100 watch: Footsie inches lower ahead of long weekend

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The UK benchmark index has slipped marginally lower in London this Thursday, following downbeat leads from the US and Asia. Investors are also digesting FTSE 100 company releases, including Unilever’s (LON:ULVR) first-quarter results which have fuelled demand for the consumer goods giant’s shares.

FTSE 100 little changed

As of 12:34 BST, the Footsie had lost 7.29 points to stand 0.1 percent lower at 7,463.89. The index has retreated ahead of the four-day Easter weekend, and following downbeat leads from the US and Asia.

“[The index]  seems to have given up for the holidays, stalling before the 7,500 level,” said analyst Neil Wilson of Markets.com, as quoted by Proactive Investors. “It could make a stab at this today but there’s already a holiday feeling in the City”.

Falls in BAE Systems (LON:BA) and Reckitt Benckiser (LON:RB) are also weighing on the blue-chip index, with shares in both FTSE 100 companies trading without the attraction of their latest dividend in today’s session. BAE’s shares are 0.98 percent down, while Reckitt Benckiser’s share price is 0.65 percent worse off at 5,830.00p.

Individual Footsie movers

In individual movers, Unilever has been in demand as its first-quarter sales beat analyst expectations. Reuters reported that Jefferies had called the quarter a ‘decent start’ to the year, while Hargreaves Lansdown’s Laith Khalaf had referred to the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant as a ‘stock market darling’. Unilever’s shares are currently 2.70 percent up at 4,496.00p.

Rentokil Initial (LON:RTO) has been another prominent blue-chip riser with a 1.90 percent gain after reporting that trading had started well across its businesses in the first quarter of the year. Centrica (LON:CNA), however, is 0.61 percent down at 106.05p as UBS lowered its price target on the stock, believing that a downward correction in the shares was justified.

The FTSE 100 was 0.11 percent down at 7,463.43 points as of 12:56 BST on Thursday, 18 April 2019.

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