UPDATE 1-Weak sterling boosts FTSE 100 after sharp slowdown in UK GDP

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UPDATE 1-Weak sterling boosts FTSE 100 after sharp slowdown in UK GDP
Credit: © Reuters.

* FTSE 100 up 1.1 pct

* UK Q1 GDP growth slowest since 2012

* Sliding sterling boosts exporters (Updates prices, adds detail)

By Helen Reid

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - British shares climbed on Friday after weaker than expected GDP data triggered a slide in sterling, while Royal Bank of Scotland shares fell after its first-quarter results.

UK growth slowed much more sharply than expected in the first quarter, sending the pound to a two-month low against the dollar GBP= and slashing the market's expectations the Bank of England will raise interest rates in May. fall boosted multinational dollar-earners on the FTSE 100 .FTSE , helping it jump 1 percent to its highest since Feb. 1, just before a rolling global sell-off spread across markets.

UK-listed consumer staples stocks, which overwhelmingly make earnings in dollars and translate them back into sterling, all made gains as the pound fell.

Diageo DGE.L , Unilever ULVR.L , British American Tobacco BATS.L and Imperial Brands IMB.L all rose 1.6 to 2.9 percent, the biggest boosts to the FTSE. Burberry BRBY.L also gained 3.1 percent.

The index of major UK companies sealed its fifth straight week of gains, its longest winning streak since January.

Results dominated trading, with RBS down 1.6 percent and among the worst-performing European banks .SX7P .

RBS RBS.L shares fell despite the bank reporting a much stronger than expected pre-tax profit of 792 million pounds ($1.10 billion) in the first quarter, as costs from legal fines and restructuring fell. are still awaiting the outcome of the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into alleged historical U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities mis-selling, analysts said, also noting a deterioration in net promoter scores.

"In particular, the negative and deteriorating net promoter scores in NatWest-branded business banking ... look awful," wrote Jefferies analyst Joseph Dickerson.

A revival in tech stocks helped the broader regional markets make gains, with Europe's tech sector .SX8P near a six-week high.

Shares in investment trust Scottish Mortgage SMT.L , which holds many of the heavyweight U.S. tech stocks, rose 3 percent after strong results from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT ) sent the stocks soaring in Wall Street trading. sentiment towards the UK has improved, with several big brokers raising their recommendation on the market in the past weeks. Investors still have their doubts, however.

"In the UK while we remain broadly positive there are a lot of headwinds as the Brexit negotiations continue. The market will swing on news on a daily basis," said Gary Waite, portfolio manager at Walker Crips.

"It's got the lowest growth rate among developed economies, so on a relative trade the marginal capital is better deployed in emerging markets, U.S. and Japanese equities."

In other results-driven moves, Madame Tussauds owner Merlin Entertainments MERL.L gained 4.7 percent, rising to the top of the FTSE 250 after reporting trading in line with expectations.

The group said visits to its London attractions were however still suffering from the impact of last year's militant attacks in Britain. CPRC.L shares rose 6.4 percent on the small-cap index .FTSC after the struggling retailer's creditors and landlords approved its restructuring plan. related prices, Reuters users may click on -

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.NL.L

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.PL.L

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Top 10 STOXX sectors........................ .PGL.STOXXS

Top 10 EUROSTOXX sectors................... .PGL.STOXXES

Top 10 Eurotop 300 sectors.................. .PGL.FTEU3S

Top 25 European pct gainers.................... .PG.PEUR

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