MARKET REPORT: FTSE keeps on falling as rate cut hopes recede

The FTSE 100 suffered its longest losing streak since February as hopes fade over early interest rate cuts.

It fell 0.3 per cent, or 21.64 points, to 8317.59 – a fourth consecutive day of losses and sank into the red for a second week in a row, not long after it passed 8400 for the first time. The FTSE 250 rose 0.7 per cent, or 139.63 points, to 20,770.93.6.

Inflation figures on Wednesday disappointed the City. While the sharp fall to 2.3 per cent was welcomed by politicians as a sign that inflation had returned to normal, it was higher than forecasts of 2.1 per cent and dented the prospect of early interest rate cuts.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: ‘The sooner interest rates are cut, the better.

‘Not only should that make consumers feel a bit more confident, but it should also put businesses in a stronger position to increase investment. It could improve investor sentiment and see greater risk-taking.’

Downward trend: The FTSE 100 fell 0.3 per cent, or 21.64 points, to 8317.59 – a fourth consecutive day of losses

Meanwhile, AJ Bell slid after founder Andy Bell sold nearly £30m worth – 7.5m at 375p each – but still has an 18.7 per cent stake.

A day earlier, the stock had been boosted after half-year results showed a 47 per cent surge in profits to £61m and a rise in customers.

The valuation also had a lift in the wake of a rejected £4.7billion bid for rival Hargreaves Lansdown

After Bell’s sale it gave up some gains, falling 4.6 per cent, or 18.5p, to 384.5p. Quality assurance firm Intertek reported a strong start to 2024. Revenues rose 7.5 per cent to £1.1billion in the first four months. That included a 6.2 per cent rise in sales for its consumer products and lifted it 1.4 per cent, or 71p, to 5025p.

GSK was cleared by a jury in Chicago over the first case to go to trial over the now-axed heartburn drug Zantac, but fell 0.2 per cent, or 3.5p, to 1774.5p.

Rolls-Royce has chosen London-listed Balfour Beatty to be its construction partner to expand its submarines site in Derby, lifting Balfour 1.4 per cent, or 5.2p, to 373p.

Ukrainian miner Ferrexpo has extended its partnership with one of Europe’s largest steel producers, supplying iron ore pellets to Germany’s Salzgitter.

The pair have been working together since 2016. Ferrexpo climbed 5.8 per cent, or 2.6p, to 47.5p. Education software provider Tribal has settled a dispute with a university in Singapore over a contract that was ended more than a year ago.

The London-listed firm said it did not admit any liability but paid £3.1m – far less than the £10.6m the institution wanted. Tribal gained 3.5 per cent, or 2p, to 59p.

A Genedrive test that aims to identify babies at higher risk of hearing loss if given certain antibiotics has won orders worth more than £100,000 from five hospitals in Manchester. Shares soared 10.5 per cent, or 0.18p, to 1.85p.

Pensionbee – down 1.7 per cent, or 2.5p, to 146.5p – is awaiting regulatory approval for a deal to work with a large US institution. The company, which helps people consolidate pensions into one pot, added that within the next decade its US business could be the same size as its UK operations.