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FTSE Today: London markets steady despite US inflation Turmoil, Tesco gains

London equities held firm on Wednesday, though gains were reined in by robust US inflation figures that potentially pushed back the Federal Reserve’s first rate cut. The FTSE 100 index climbed 0.3% to 7,961.21, while …

London equities held firm on Wednesday, though gains were reined in by robust US inflation figures that potentially pushed back the Federal Reserve’s first rate cut. The FTSE 100 index climbed 0.3% to 7,961.21, while the FTSE 250 advanced 0.2% to 19,801.75, and the AIM All-Share rose 0.6% to 755.19.

Tesco was the biggest gainer among large-caps, with its shares rising 3.3%. The supermarket group reported a stellar financial year, with pretax profit soaring to £2.29 billion from £882 million a year earlier. Revenue grew 4.4% to £68.19 billion, and the company declared a final dividend of 8.25 pence per share, taking the total to 12.10 pence, an 11% increase from the previous year.

Riding high on its performance, Tesco unveiled a £1.0 billion share buyback programme, with £250 million funded by a special dividend from Tesco Bank.

Ocado, which initially benefited from positive sentiment, ultimately succumbed to the impact of the scorching US data, with its shares sliding 1.9%. Rate-sensitive sectors, such as property and housebuilding, also felt the heat, with Barratt Developments declining 1.2% and Segro shedding 1.4%.

XP Power surged 8.0% after maintaining its yearly outlook and expressing confidence in an improvement in demand for its semiconductor equipment unit. Despite a 17% year-over-year revenue decline in the first quarter to £64.6 million, the company expects trading to improve as channel stock levels stabilize and semiconductor manufacturing equipment demand picks up.

Chamberlin plummeted 17% as its results for the most recent quarter missed expectations. The specialist castings and engineering group cited lower customer schedules and delays in new program startups, impacting profit and working capital.

Daily Risers and Fallers

FTSE All-Share risers:
Treatt 13.4%, Petrofac 13.2%, James Fisher and Sons 8.4%, XP Power 8.0%, Xaar 7.8%.
FTSE All-Share fallers:
NB Global -7.1%, Regional Reit -4.5%, Schroder Real -4.4%, Severfield -4.2%, Petra Diamonds -3.4%.

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