FTSE ends week lower despite Friday gain; UK data in focus

The FTSE 100 ended Friday with a minor gain but posted its third straight weekly decline as investors tempered their bets on US rate cuts following robust data. Meanwhile, weak UK retail sales put the focus back on the Bank of England.

The FTSE 100 rose 2.84 points Friday to 7,461.93, while the FTSE 250 fell 76.63 points to 18,871.41. The pound slipped to $1.2669, helping shield the FTSE 100.

UK retail sales plunged 3.2% month-on-month in December, well below forecasts for a 0.5% dip and November’s 1.4% increase. The signs of economic weakness revived hopes the BoE may cut rates sooner.

On the upside, 4imprint surged 13% as the marketing firm expects 2023 revenue of $1.33 billion, up 16%, and profit above estimates. Logistics firm Wincanton jumped 48% on a £567 million takeover from CEVA.

Custodian REIT fell 13% while abrdn Property gained 11% on their £1 billion tie-up. Big Technologies dropped 16% on a downbeat 2024 outlook, warning a large Colombia contract will likely end while US investments dent margins.