Business

London shares stagnate in shade of UK election campaign

Traders in London Image copyright AFP

London share prices slumbered as the UK general election got underway in earnest.

The FTSE 100 index of leading shares rose by a meagre four points to end the day at 7,119.

There was little corporate news to move share prices, though Unilever ended the day 0.3% higher at £39.50 after reporting a strong rise in quarterly sales.

The pound rose 0.5% against the dollar to $1.284.

Against the euro the pound was unchanged at 1.193 euros.

Department stores were the main talking point of the day after Debenhams announced the outcome of a strategic review which includes the possible closure of 10 underperforming stores.

Its shares fell 5% to 52.5p.

And Marks & Spencer fell 1.3% to £3.54p after updating investors on its big turnaround plan, which includes both store closures and new store openings.

Unilever, one of the world's leading maker of groceries and household goods, said sales rose 3% in its first quarter, which was stronger growth than had been expected.

In February, Unilever rejected a takeover approach from its rival, the US firm Kraft Heinz.

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