FTSE hits new record as global stocks buoyed by US interest rates hopes

The FTSE 100 surpassed the 8,200 mark, with it reaching a new record for both intra-day and closing price.

Anna Wise
Friday 03 May 2024 17:18 BST
The UK’s top stock index has had another record-breaking week (John Stillwell/PA)
The UK’s top stock index has had another record-breaking week (John Stillwell/PA) (PA Archive)

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The UK’s top stock index has had another record-breaking week, closing at a fresh all-time high after being boosted on hopes of interest rate cuts across the pond.

The FTSE 100 was 41.34 points higher on Friday, or 0.51%, closing at 8,213.49, thanks to a boost from housebuilders and financial services stocks.

It is the first time the blue-chip index has surpassed the 8,200 mark, with it reaching a new record for both intra-day and closing price.

London’s blue-chip index has powered higher, as a relief wave cascaded over markets amid hopes for earlier interest rate cuts in the US

Susannah Streeter, Hargreaves Lansdown

Experts said new jobs data from the US was helping boost the mood of investors at the end of the week, because it could encourage the central bank to start lowering interest rates.

It comes after the US Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that rates could stay higher for longer until there is firmer evidence that inflation is slowing toward its target level.

Top markets in the US were climbing higher in early trading, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones both up about 1.1% by the time European markets closed.

Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets for Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “London’s blue-chip index has powered higher, as a relief wave cascaded over markets amid hopes for earlier interest rate cuts in the US.

“The latest snapshot of the weakening labour market fired up stocks on Wall Street, and positive sentiment is washing over the FTSE 100, which passed the 8,200 mark for the first time today.

“With overall US economic output also slowing by more than expected in the first quarter, hopes are riding high that that this era of painfully-high borrowing costs might start to come to an end, sooner rather than later.”

It was a good session for other European markets. In Frankfurt, the Dax moved 0.54% higher and in Paris, the Cac 40 also closed 0.54% higher.

The pound was up about 0.1% against the US dollar at 1.255, and down 0.3% against the euro at 1.165.

In company news, shares in Trainline lifted higher after it reported a more than doubling of its profit over the past year, partly due to there being fewer rail strikes than the year before.

The rail ticket seller said it surpassed £5 billion in ticket sales for the first time, as it further penetrated international markets including Spain and Italy.

It was good news for investors and its share price was 6.6% higher at close.

Meanwhile, shares in Hostmore dipped after the hospitality company reported lower revenues over 2023, compared with 2022.

Nevertheless, the TGI Fridays operator said it had heavily reduced its pre-tax losses to £25.5 million from £108.3 million a year earlier, after a period of significant cost-cutting across the group. Its share price was 3.6% lower at close.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Phoenix Group, up 31.5p to 519.5p, Berkeley Group, up 238p to 5040p, Persimmon, up 61p to 1366.5p, Taylor Wimpey, up 5.5p to 139.2p, and Barratt Developments, up 18.4p to 478.7p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were IHG Group, down 162p to 7,726p, Beazley, down 10p to 629.5p, Fresnillo, down 8.5p to 549.5p, BP, down 5.4p to 510.4p, and easyJet, down 5.2p to 541.6p.

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