London stocks moved higher on Wednesday, prompting bets of an earlier rate cut after data showed the British economy slowed to a halt in April, while pest control firm Rentokil Initial added to the gains.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 was up 0.7% at 8,201.79 points, set for the best intraday percentage gain in over a month and on track to snap a three-day losing streak.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 edged 0.4% higher.

In the past two weeks, the benchmark index has dipped thrice below the 8,200 level, often regarded as one of the key signals indicating a potential shift towards a correction.

Meanwhile, a swift rebound in Britain's economy in early 2024 came to a halt in April after data showed economic output was flat for the month.

Traders are now pricing in nearly a 40% chance of an August rate cut by the Bank of England.

"That we didn't see a contraction (in UK's GDP) was not considered as negative growth. It being flat is actually being taken as good news by markets because it feels like a blip," Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell.

Among individual stocks, Rentokil Initial surged 13.2% after Bloomberg News reported that Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management has amassed a significant stake in the pest-control firm.

Rentokil also pushed the industrial support sector to the top.


Legal & General lost 3.5% after the life insurer said it would offer a 200 million pound ($254.9 million) share buyback and merge its investment units.

Molten Ventures was the top gainer on the mid-cap index, with a 10.8% jump, after the venture capital firm reported its final-year results.

Across the pond, investors are bracing for U.S. inflation data along with the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision. Both are due later on Wednesday.

"There's going to be a whole load of focus on the U.S. inflation figures ... It's that sort of reading between the lines that investors are looking for," Hewson added. (Reporting by Pranav Kashyap in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema)