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UK equities rise on inflation relief

Published 14/02/2024, 08:25
Updated 14/02/2024, 17:16
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

By Shristi Achar A and Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) -The UK's main stock indexes rose on Wednesday after softer-than-expected inflation data provided comfort to investors worried about how long the Bank of England will maintain its restrictive monetary policy for.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index added 0.8%, while the midcap FTSE 250 was 0.4% higher.

Both indexes had suffered sharp losses on Tuesday after a hotter-than-expected reading of U.S. inflation and domestic labour market data forced investors to temper rate cut bets.

British inflation unexpectedly held steady at 4.0% in January, defying forecasts of a rise to 4.2%, and offering some relief to the BoE and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ahead of a national election expected this year.

"Last year we had just about the highest inflation rate of any of the developed countries. But this year it is going to see the biggest improvement and the figure that we've seen for January confirms that," said Andrew Bell, chief executive officer of Witan Investment Trust (LON:WTAN).

Sterling weakened around 0.3%, supporting equities in the exporter-heavy FTSE 100.

The yield on 10-year UK government bonds, a benchmark for borrowing costs, fell to 4.047%, boosting a gauge of rate-sensitive homebuilder shares.

Money market traders now expect interest rate cuts of about 70 basis points from the BoE this year, up from about 58 bps before the data. [0#BOEWATCH].

UK-listed shares of TUI (LON:TUIT) fell 6.3% a day after shareholders of Europe's biggest travel agent voted to move its listing to Frankfurt, the latest company to ditch the London stock market which has been struggling to retain big companies and attract new share offerings.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) HBC jumped 8.0% after the bottler said it expects profit to grow in 2024, after posting a record annual profit of 1.08 bln euros ($1.16 billion).

Dunelm (LON:DNLM) Group fell 2.6% after the home furnishing retailer flagged a slower pace of margin growth in second half of the year as it manages the impact of Red Sea-related shipping disruptions.

Latest comments

Wage settlements come thick and fast March and April...this will put inflation in an upward from 4% in May
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