FTSE Today: London markets rally on central bank dovishness

FTSE 100 surges as Fed signals rate cuts, BoE policymakers drop hawkish bias.

FTSE Today: London markets rally on central bank dovishness
FTSE Today

The FTSE 100 index soared 1.9% to 7,882.55 on Thursday, as UK markets cheered dovish signals from both the US Federal Reserve and Bank of England. The Fed statement suggested a trio of rate cuts will materialise this year, boosting US tech shares. Meanwhile, some BoE policymakers dropped their hawkish bias, propelling housebuilders like Berkeley Group, which closed up 3.7%.

Next shares jumped 6.7% after the retailer reported a 17% rise in statutory pretax profit to £1.02 billion for the 52 weeks to January 27, aided by a £109 million exceptional gain from the Reiss acquisition. Next's total group sales climbed 5.9% to £5.84 billion, with full-price sales up 4%.

The FTSE 250 advanced 1.3% to 19,741.31, though Dowlais plunged 9.9%. The automotive engineering firm's pretax loss widened to £522 million due to a £449 million goodwill impairment, despite a 5.7% revenue increase to £4.86 billion.

Games Workshop Group rose 2.3% after hiking its dividend to £4.20 per share amid record sales and profits for the financial year 2024.

On the AIM, XLMedia more than doubled to 13.50 pence after agreeing to sell its Europe and Canada sports betting assets to Gambling.com for up to $42.5 million. The AIM All-Share climbed 0.7% to 740.64.

Daily Risers and Fallers

FTSE All-Share risers:
Pollen Street 12.4%, 3i Group 8.7%, Hochschild 8%, Next 6.6%, Future 5.8%.
FTSE All-Share fallers:
Aptitude -16.4%, Dowlais -9.7%, Petra Diamonds -5.8%, CLS Holdings -5.5%, Hostelworld -5.3%.

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