Unilever and oil stocks support FTSE 100 amid inflation concerns

The offices of the London Stock Exchange Group are seen in the City of London, Britain December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/

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  • Unilever hits two-week high
  • Airlines feel the heat as oil climbs
  • Discount retailer B&M slips on profit warning
  • FTSE 100 up 0.2%, FTSE 250 down 0.7%

May 31 (Reuters) – Britain’s FTSE 100 edged higher on Tuesday as Unilever surged after appointing activist investor Nelson Peltz as a board member and oil stocks rallied following a surge crude prices, helping to reverse the gloom in wider European markets.

The blue-chip index (.FTSE) gained 0.2%, hitting its highest level in almost six weeks.

Shares of Unilever jumped 6.9% after the consumer goods giant named billionaire activist Peltz to its board, pressuring the company for a bigger overhaul of its strategy. Read more

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“Inviting Peltz will only increase the pressure on beleaguered CEO Alan Jope and we could now see the company advancing plans to streamline the business and address governance issues,” said Russ Mold, chief investment officer at AJ Bell. .

Oil majors such as Shell (SHEL.L) and BP (BP.L) rose more than 1% each as Brent prices soared to $123 a barrel after the EU agreed to a ban part of Russian oil.

The regional STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) fell after data showed eurozone inflation hit a new record high in May, challenging the European Central Bank’s view that gradual increases interest rates from July will be enough to bring stubbornly high price growth under control. Read more

“Rising oil prices risk undermining bullish momentum and US Treasury yields jumped in overnight trades, adding possible headwinds,” said Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank. .

Airlines such as Wizz Air (WIZZ.L), easyJet (EZJ.L) and British Airways owner IAG fell between 2.4% and 4.2% as rising crude prices signaled a rise fuel costs.

The National Mid Cap Index (.FTMC) fell 0.7%.

Discount retailer B&M fell 10.6% after warning of declining profit margins this year as customers spend less on discretionary products due to the cost of living crisis. Read more

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Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; edited by Uttaresh.V and Sriraj Kalluvila

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Steve R. Hansen