- UK stocks rallied strongly on Friday, spurred on by a conclusive Conservative election victory and boosted by the news China and the US had achieved major progress in their phase one trade negotiations and agreed on the text of a phase one deal.

At 16.35, the benchmark FTSE 100 index closed up 79.97 points, or 1.1%, at 7,353.44, while the domestically-focused FTSE 250 finished 3.4% higher at 21,507.79 points.


Utility and transport stocks, beaten down recently by fears of Labour renationalisation plans, were strong gainers, with BT rising 7% to 202.6p, Centrica advancing 9.4% to 88.3p and Stagecoach surging 17% higher to 154.7p.

Housebuilders also fared well, with Taylor Whimpey up 14.7% to 199.7p and Persimmon up 11.9% to £28.13, as did banks. Barclays was bid up 7.3% to 184.4p, Lloyds was up 6.2% to 64.9p and RBS rose by 8.7% to 252.4p.

Outsourcing firms G4S and Serco rose 4.2% to 216.8p and 7.7% to 157.7p 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.


In corporate news, ten-pin bowling alley operator Hollywood Bowl rose 9.8% to 258p as it booked a 15% rise in annual profit driven by higher game volumes and increased customer spending on food and drinks.

Mothercare rallied 17.8% to 15.85p after the baby goods retailer inked a deal to supply products exclusively to Boots UK stores, thereby keeping its goods on British shelves. Mothercare called in administrators to its ailing UK business last month and will close all of its UK brick and mortar outlets, so this new tie-up effectively salvages the brand's UK presence.

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

Miton UK MicroCap Trust added 4.3% to trade at 50.7p, 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 4.75% to 143.5p 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 5.1% to 260p, 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 11.6% to 33.7p 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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