By Emily Horton
London markets were down on Thursday, as consumer goods giant Unilever did its best to lift the U.K.’s indexes but was dominated by sinking shares in mining and banking companies.
How did markets perform?
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.52% lost 0.3% to 7446.19 after finishing flat the previous day.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.0288% also dipped, falling by 0.2% to $1.3011 from $1.3042.
What’s driving the markets?
With little Brexit news and Wednesday’s economic growth data from China failing to inspire investors, London’s markets were driven primarily by company updates and stock price movements.
Investors are holding off for the latest round of corporate reporting to kick in next week, with heavyweights Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Taylor Wimpey due to release updates.
What stocks are active?
Unilever PLC /zigman2/quotes/205449809/delayed UK:ULVR +1.97% did its best to lift the FTSE 100, adding 3%, after the consumer goods giant reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter of the year. However, the group also warned shareholders that underlying sales growth would be at “the lower half” of its self-set 3%-5% target.
“New chief executive Alan Jope has now been in the hot seat since January and he’s delivered a satisfactory first quarter, although nothing spectacular,” Russ Mould, investor director at AJ Bell said.
“Now comes the hard part — he needs to find a way to stop the company’s sales growth from slowing down and adapt Unilever for the new era of retail where online shopping and the rise of discounters are driving down prices,” he continued.
Tobacco manufacturer Imperial Brands /zigman2/quotes/208789104/delayed UK:IMB +3.02% also added 1%.
However, this couldn't reverse the falls endured by heavyweight miners and banks, with Glencore PLC /zigman2/quotes/201400686/delayed UK:GLEN +0.77% falling by 1.4%, Antofagasta PLC /zigman2/quotes/200173667/delayed UK:ANTO +1.56% dropping by 1.4% and Standard Chartered PLC /zigman2/quotes/200125072/delayed UK:STAN +0.97% /zigman2/quotes/200125072/delayed UK:STAN +0.97% and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC both losing 1.7%.
BAE Systems PLC and Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC also struggled Thursday, falling by 3% and 0.8% respectively.
Meanwhile, other top London climbers included heavyweight miner Fresnillo PLC /zigman2/quotes/201300065/delayed UK:FRES +6.24% , up by 1.6%, and Auto Trader Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/208097104/delayed UK:AUTO -0.78% , jumping 1.5%.