By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
U.K. stocks finished higher Thursday, catching a break after three straight days of losses, but shares of Burberry Group PLC plunged as China’s economic slowdown hurt sales at the luxury-products retailer.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.25% moved up 1.1% to close at 6,338.67.
Unilever PLC /zigman2/quotes/205449809/delayed UK:ULVR +1.27% /zigman2/quotes/204685760/composite UL +0.82% shares rose 3.6%, after the consumer-products heavyweight said a jump in third-quarter revenue was driven by strong demand for ice cream. Magnum ice-cream is one of Unilever’s brands.
The FTSE 100 on Wednesday slumped 1.2%, under pressure after disappointing Chinese inflation figures. U.K. stocks also fell on Monday and on Tuesday, weighed by downbeat trade data from China.
Thursday’s rise in stocks came as Asian equity markets moved higher, with investors shrugging off this week’s dreary data from China, the world’s second-largest economy, and latched onto the prospect that soft U.S. data will keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates this year.
The weakness in China’s economy is also putting a dent in business at Burberry /zigman2/quotes/205386705/delayed UK:BRBY +1.11% . Its shares tumbled 8.3% on Thursday after the British fashion house said first-half sales were little changed from a year earlier. The shares are on track for their worst one-day performance since September 2012.
“Retail revenue growth in second quarter was “impacted by [an] increasingly challenging environment for luxury, particularly Chinese customers,” Burberry said in a statement. The retailer’s sales tally of 1.11 billion pounds ($1.69 billion) came in below the £1.16 billion forecast by analysts polled by FactSet.
Movers: Elsewhere in London trade, bank stocks held to higher ground after the Bank of England said so-called “ringfenced” banks will need to hold extra capital to cover systemic risk in their operations. Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC gained 1.6%, Barclays PLC /zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed UK:BARC +0.47% /zigman2/quotes/208409333/delayed UK:BARC +0.47% rose 0.8% and Lloyds Banking Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/202285510/delayed UK:LLOY +0.74% picked up 1%. HSBC Holdings PLC /zigman2/quotes/203901799/delayed UK:HSBA +0.25% moved up 0.7%.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.0081% , meanwhile, traded at $1.5492 versus $1.5477 late Wednesday in New York.