FTSE Close: NatWest soars on profit beat while XP Power plunges on warning

London stocks closed higher on Friday, finishing the week on a positive note after the latest US inflation data. The FTSE 100 index ended 1.5% higher at 7,711.71. The FTSE 250 climbed 0.5% to 19,191.93 and the AIM All-Share gained 0.8% to close at 758.78.

Rising to the top was NatWest with a 7.1% surge after beating profit forecasts.

NatWest booked a 20% increase in 2023 pretax profit to £6.18 billion, exceeding analyst expectations of £5.97 billion. Total income rose 12% to £14.75 billion, also topping forecasts. As interim chief Paul Thwaite was confirmed as permanent CEO, the lender unveiled a £300 million buyback and declared a final dividend of 11.5 pence.

On the mining front, Antofagasta gained 5.7% after approving new emissions targets having met prior goals early. Anglo American rose 3.0% as its Anglo American Platinum unit saw mines achieve strong marks from the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance.

In the FTSE 250, Close Brothers dropped a further 3.0% as Berenberg warned of regulatory hostility towards parts of its merchant banking model.

Among smaller caps, XP Power dived 36% after the power components supplier warned 2024 results will miss market forecasts amid unusual softness in demand.

FTSE All-Share Gainers

Cab Payments 8.29%, Natwest 7.09%, James Fisher and Sons 5.71%, Antofagasta 5.65%, Metro Bank 5.06%, Funding Circle 5.03%, Invesco Sel. Uk 4.95%, Capital 4.76%, Baltic Classifieds Group 4.63%, TUI AG 4.02%.

FTSE All-Share Fallers

XP Power -35.38%, Petra Diamonds -6.39%, Superdry -5.58%, Schroder Eur.r -5.14%, Xaar -5.04%, Zotefoams -4.89%, Ceres Power -4.21%, Schroders Cap -4.12%, Porvair -3.68%, Bloomsbury -3.64%.