- UK stocks opened moderately lower on Friday following a two-week winning streak triggered by Boris Johnson's election win.

At 0854, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 15.37 points, or 0.2%, at 7.567.11, having risen 4.0% since 12 December.

Hospital operator NMC Health jumped 25% to £16.2546 on announcing that it would commence an independent review to assess criticisms made about its balance sheet by short seller Muddy Waters.

Financial planning group Harwood Wealth Management gained 4.3% to 164.25p after it agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Carlyle for around £90.7m, or 145p per share.

Mining titan BHP fell 1.0% to £17.77, having announced that chief executive Andrew Mackenzie would retire at the end of March, three months earlier than previously announced.

BHP said that Mackenzie and his planned replacement, Mike Henry, were confident that a CEO transition was proceeding well and ahead of schedule.

Pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline shed 0.9% to £17.97 on confirming that its ViiV Healthcare joint venture with Pfizer and Shionogi had received a so-called complete response letter from the US Food and Drug Administration rejecting an HIV treatment.

Rival drug company AstraZeneca dropped 0.9% to £77.39, even as its triple combination therapy for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease gained regulatory approval in China.

Defence contractor Cobham rose 0.4% to 164.3p as it noted that the UK had on Friday approved its proposed £4bn takeover by US private equity firm Advent.

Cordial retailer Nichols, which owns the Vimto brand, slumped 13% to £14.71, as it warned that its profits in 2020 could be 'materially impacted' by new excise taxes on sweetened drinks in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Derwent London gained 0.9% to £38.82 after it exchanged contracts to sell its long leasehold interest in a London office property to Deka Immobilien for £121.3m.

Real estate portal OnTheMarket shed 1.3% to 75p as it agreed to acquire a 20% initial share in Glanty, the owner of an automated portal for the lettings industry, for £0.80m, and said it would raise £3.4m from a placing at 70p a share.

OnTheMarket also agreed an option to acquire the remaining 80% of Glanty, for an initial sum of £1.5m, plus earnout payments of up to £12m.

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