LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - Sterling held its gains, while UK stock futures fell on Wednesday, after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a general election for July 4.

Sterling was last up 0.25% on the day at $1.274, little changed from levels seen before Sunak started speaking outside Downing Street.

Futures on the FTSE 100 fell 0.7%. They had traded down 0.6% earlier in the day.

The FTSE 100 earlier closed down 0.6%, while UK gilt yields rose sharply after British data showed inflation had slowed more slowly than expected in April.

(Reporting by London markets team; writing by Amanda Cooper; Editing by Alun John and Dhara Ranasinghe)