LONDON, Feb 13 — UK shares were muted in early trade today, as the pound and government bond yields edged up after a stronger-than-expected labour data from the region, underscoring investor concerns about a delay in interest rate cuts from the Bank of England.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was unchanged at 7574.58, as of 0808 GMT, while the midcap FTSE 250 shed 0.1 per cent.

Data showed British wages excluding bonuses grew 6.2 per cent in the last three months of 2023 from a year earlier, signalling a still-tight labour market.

The sterling edged up after the data, last up nearly 0.2 per cent, while the yield on Britain’s benchmark 10-year gilt also gained, last standing at 4.090 per cent, hurting equities.

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Traders are now pricing in around 69 basis points (bps) of interest rate cuts from the British central bank this year, down from around 78 bps before the data.

Market participants will now await the release of the US inflation data due later in the day, that could provide clues on the state of the world’s largest economy and help shape the outlook for interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.

GSK was up 0.8 per cent, after Citigroup upgraded the drugmaker’s stock to “Buy” from “Neutral” for the first time in seven years. — Reuters

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