FTSE stocks rally as U.S. jobs data fuels rate cut hopes

UK markets climbed higher, led by gains in travel and tech stocks.

London stocks closed firmly higher on Friday, propelled by softer-than-expected U.S. employment data that stoked hopes for an earlier pivot from the Federal Reserve on interest rate hikes. The FTSE 100 rose 0.5%, with the mid-cap FTSE 250 gaining 0.6% and the AIM All-Share up 0.5%

The moves capped a positive week for UK equities, with the FTSE 100 rising 0.9%, the FTSE 250 up 1.7%, and the AIM All-Share advancing 2.0%.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 175,000 in April, below forecasts of 243,000, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.9%. The softer labor market print fueled expectations the Fed could pause rate hikes sooner than anticipated.

In London, travel stocks outperformed, with Trainline surging 6.6% after the ticketing platform posted a 21% revenue jump and announced a £75 million buyback. InterContinental Hotels, however, slumped 2.5% despite reporting higher RevPAR.

Property consultancy Fletcher King was the top gainer on AIM, soaring 27% after projecting its annual profit would come in up to three times higher than the previous year on strong business momentum.

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