* FTSE falls 0.3 pct on jitters over rising Ukraine tensions
* William Hill, Pearson, WPP up after updates
By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, April 25 Britain's top share index
retreated from seven-week highs on Friday as an escalation of
tensions in Ukraine outweighed well-received updates from
betting agency William Hill and media groups Pearson and WPP.
Ukrainian forces killed as many as five pro-Russia
separatists on Thursday, Russia conducted army drills near the
border, and investors cashed in on a 3-percent FTSE 100
gain over the last 10 days on rising fears it will invade.
"People are going to be quite cautious going into the
weekend; we certainly are, especially with the Ukraine events
unfolding quite quickly," Sanlam Securities' head of execution
trading Mark Ward said. "People are generally closing positions
While UK blue chips only generate 0.3 percent of their sales
in eastern Europe, Datastream data shows, the prospect of more
sanctions and strained ties between Russia and Western powers
dented appetite for shares across Europe.
U.S. President Barack Obama was expected to speak to
European leaders on Friday to try to nudge the European Union
towards further sanctions against Russia. U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry said on Thursday that time was running out for
Moscow to change its course in Ukraine.
Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent at 6,680.49 points
at 0748 GMT. The index, still up nearly 1 percent for the week,
had hit its highest close since March 7 on Thursday.
Educational publisher Pearson bucked the trend,
rising 2.2 percent to the top of the FTSE after saying it has
made a "solid" start to the year.
The world's largest advertising group, WPP, also rose, up
0.4 percent, after it reported much better-than-expected revenue
growth and said it had seen a surge in new client wins due to
changes in the industry.
William Hill surged 1.4 percent after its
first-quarter results, with analysts highlighting positive
numbers in its overseas and online markets despite weak results
at its soccer business and regulatory headwinds in Britain.
"We believe that William Hill is a market-leader which has
seen a trough in trading in 1Q14 and will soon pass a peak of
concern over regulatory risks," Numis analysts said in a note.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)