FTSE: Shares climb on rate cut hopes; NatWest, Segro Rise

UK shares rose on Friday, poised for weekly gains, as investors remained optimistic about potential interest rate cuts from the Bank of England after recent weak economic data. The FTSE 100 climbed 0.8% to an over one-week high in morning trade, while the FTSE 250 added 0.5%.

Domestic data indicating softer inflation and the economy slipping into recession has boosted hopes that the BoE would cut rates from nearly 16-year highs. Money markets price in a 72 basis point cut this year.

Among stocks, NatWest shares jumped 3% to £3.15 after the lender reported a 20% rise in 2023 pre-tax profit to £6.2 billion, exceeding estimates. It announced a 11.5 pence dividend and a £300 million share buyback programme.

Warehousing firm Segro advanced 2.2% to £8.95 after posting better-than-expected annual profit and citing optimistic 2024 prospects for its investment business.