A slew of healthy financials, including an uptick in the fortunes of blue chip Unilever, failed to fire up leading London indices on Thursday (20 April), as the pound continued to rally.
At market close, the FTSE 100 was down 6.23 points or 0.10% at 7,120.59, while the FTSE 250 ended 40.71 points or 0.21% lower at 19,377.05, as the pound – up 0.32% versus the dollar to $1.281 – extended gains following Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement on Tuesday to call a snap general election.
Earlier in the session, Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever (+0.32%) reported a 2.9% increase in underlying sales for the first three months of 2017.
The figure was above analysts' expectations for a sales increase of 2%. Year-on-year turnover in the three months to the end of March increased 6.1% to €13.3bn (£11.1bn).
Burberry (+1.66%) was also among the FTSE 100's biggest gainers, mounting a recovery from overnight declines in the wake of reporting a sales drop.
St. James' Place (+1.89%), GKN (+1.83%), RBS (+1.61%) and Prudential (+1.54%) were among other leading blue chip gainers. However, Barratt Developments (-2.04%) shed most of Tuesday's gains, finding itself in the company of other major fallers such as Intu Properties (-4.18%), Ashtead Group (-2.71%), Kingfisher (-1.94%) and Fresnillo (+1.81%).
Midcaps were dragged lower by Acacia Mining (-8.43%), along with Petrofac (-5.28%), Hochschild Mining (-4.95%) and Drax Group (3.99%). Debenhams (-5.06%) was another major FTSE 250 faller after it revealed a decline in profits.
Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown: "Acacia Mining's reasonable operational performance has been overshadowed by the ongoing ban on exports of gold/copper concentrate from Tanzania, a product which accounts for 30% of group revenues and the group gave no indication that an end to the ban was in sight."
On the positive side, Cobham (+6.57%), Essentra (+5.86%), Man Group (+4.43%), Go-Ahead Group (+3.07%) and Paragon Group (+2.85%) were among the FTSE 250 gainers on a lacklustre day for the midcaps.