Unilever review bolsters FTSE 100

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Traders in LondonImage source, AP

(Close) London's leading shares closed higher on Wednesday, with Unilever the biggest gainer, up 5.7%, after promising a review on ways to increase value for shareholders.

The move follows its rejection of Kraft Heinz's £115bn offer for the consumer goods giant.

Lloyds closed 3.7% higher after announcing sharply higher annual profits.

The FTSE 100 index added 27.4 points, or 0.4%, at 7,302.2 points.

Housebuilder Barratt was bolstered by an 8.8% rise in half-yearly profits, ending 0.5% higher.

Its figures bolstered the sector, with rivals Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey adding 0.8% and 0.8% respectively.

On the FTSE 250, outsourcer Serco slumped almost 20% after posting a 14% fall in trading profit and said it was vulnerable to increased global political uncertainty this year.

"We continue to anticipate another reduction in revenues, profitability and earnings, with another step up in net debt," said Shore Capital analyst Robin Speakman.

On the currency markets, the pound was 0.25% lower against the US dollar at $1.2442 and 0.5% weaker against the euro at 1.1786.