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Stronger pound, industrials drag FTSE 100 lower ahead of April PMI data

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* FTSE 100 down 0.4%, FTSE 250 off 0.3%

April 23 (Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 slipped on Friday as industrial stocks fell and a stronger pound weighed on export-oriented companies, while investors awaited a flash reading on business survey data for April later in the day.

The exporter-heavy index declined 0.4%, with large dollar-earning consumer staples companies Unilever, Diageo, and British American Tobacco slipping between 0.3% and 0.9% as the pound strengthened.

Heavyweight oil majors BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell also fell and were among the biggest drags to the index.

The domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index slipped 0.3% even as official data showed British retail sales soared past expectations to jump by 5.4% in March from February before the lockdown eased.

A survey showed that consumer sentiment touched a 13-month high this month as the economy reopened partially.

Transport operator FirstGroup’s shares gained 13.1% after the company agreed to sell two North American bus businesses to EQT Infrastructure for $4.6 billion, including debt. (Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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