FTSE Close: Stocks inch up on rate cut hopes despite mixed data

The FTSE 100 closed slightly higher on Thursday, up 2.06 points at 7,529.73, while the FTSE 250 added 51.42 points to 19,223.10 and the AIM All-Share finished 3.25 points higher at 748.10.

The late comeback came as expectations grew the US Federal Reserve may cut rates sooner than expected, even following disappointing economic updates.

Stocks had drifted lower after the European Central Bank left eurozone rates unchanged. But they revived on reports December US new home sales plunged and jobless claims rose, supporting the case for a Fed cut.

In individual movers, wealth manager St James’s Place dropped 4.4% as 2022 net inflows nearly halved to £5.12 billion.

Footwear firm Dr. Martens closed up 7.2% after keeping full-year guidance unchanged, though its US growth plans continue to struggle.

Speciality chemicals company Elementis surged 12% on reports private equity player KPS Capital had explored a 160p per share offer.

IG Group shares plunged over 8% after the online trading platform reported a decline in first-half revenue and earnings amid volatile market conditions.

Tanzania-focused helium explorer Helium One rocketed 32% after finding promising shows while drilling targets in its Itumbula well.

FTSE All-Share Gainers

Petrofac (13.3%), Elementis (12.1%), Dr. Martens (12.0%), Intermediate Capital (8.6%), Ashtead Group (6.8%), Cab Payments (6.1%), James Fisher and Sons (6.0%), Gcp Asset Bckd (5.4%), Ceres Power (5.4%), Mitie (5.1%).

FTSE All-Share Fallers

Ig Group Holdings (-7.6%), Close Bros (-5.9%), Record (-4.8%), Pensionbee (-4.7%), St James’s Place (-4.4%), Ncc (-4.3%), Hikma Pharmaceuticals (-4.2%), Wizz Air (-4.1%), Xaar (-4.1%), Petra Diamonds (-4.0%).