StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks rallied strongly on Friday, spurred by a conclusive Conservative election victory and reports that the US and China were poised to sign a first-phase trade deal.

At 11.30, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 136 points, or 1.9%, at 7,409.5, while the domestically-focused FTSE 250 jumped 4.3% to 21,686 points.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Utility and transport stocks, beaten down recently by fears of Labour renationalisation plans, were strong gainers, with BT rising 7.25% to 203p, Centrica 7.4% to 86.7p and Stagecoach 14.3% to 151.1p.

Housebuilders also fared well, with Taylor Whimpey up 15% to 200.1p and Persimmon up 10.6% to £27.81, as did banks, with Barclays up 7.7% to 185p, Lloyds up 7.8% to 65.9p and RBS up 10.9% to 257.6p.

Outsourcing firms G4S and Serco rose 5.3% to 219.1p and 8.4% to 158.7p respectively following the landslide Conservative election victory.

Not only has the threat of a Labour government evaporated, taking with it the prospect of a ban on outsourcing deals, the new administration is set to increase public spending next year to spur growth.

Export-focused companies were having a tougher morning, due to the election result sending the pound higher on expectations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would swiftly push through his Brexit deal. Rolls-Royce fell 3.6p to 700.8p and GlaxoSmithKline reversed 11.4p to £17.33.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

In corporate news, ten-pin bowling alley operator Hollywood Bowl rose 9% to 256p as it booked a 15% rise in annual profit driven by higher game volumes and increased customer spending on food and drinks.

Gold miner Centamin gained 0.4p to trade at 122.25p after it appointed current chief financial officer Ross Jerrard as its interim chief executive. Centamin said the search for a permanent CEO replacement was progressing well.

Water treatment group Amiad Water Systems slumped 16% to 227p on warning that it expected to post annual profits and revenue below market expectations.

Investment group BMO Global Smaller Companies rose 1.2% to 143p after it posted a positive return in the first half that beat its benchmark.

Miton UK MicroCap Trust added 4.7% to 50.9p, even as it posted a negative performance in the first half, blamed on Brexit uncertainty that looks to be clearing in the wake of Boris Johnson's election win.

Gambling software provider GAN advanced 4.4% to 143p on noting official state figures showing that sports wagering revenue in the state of New Jersey had risen during the month of November on-year, but fallen on-month.

Video game company Codemasters rose 3.2% to 255.5p, having revealed that a title previously identified as being tied to its acquisition of Slightly Mad Studios would be linked to the Hollywood movie franchise Fast & Furious.

The game, Fast & Furious Crossroads, was set to launch in May 2020.

Oil and gas company Hurricane Energy gained 5.6% to 31.9p as it forecast revenue of around $165m for its financial year through December, following a 'strong' performance from its Lancaster project in the UK.


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