StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks rallied on Monday after opening lower following a two-week winning streak triggered by Boris Johnson's election win.

At 12.15pm the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 33 points or 0.4% to 7,615 while the FTSE 250 mid-cap index was up 202 points or 0.9% to 21,876.

Trading volumes are likely to be low given the shortened trading week so investors should read less into movements in the indices between now and the year-end.

NMC BOUNCES BACK

Biggest gainer on the FTSE 100 index was hospital operator NMC Health, up 32% to £17.21 after it announced it would commence an independent review to assess criticisms of its balance sheet by hedge fund and short-seller Muddy Waters.

The firm's share price tumbled last week after Muddy Waters, which targeted Burford Capital earlier this year, published a scathing report on NMC highlighting concerns about the firm's asset values, cash balance, reported profits and reported debt levels.

NMC said its independent review would be conducted by an outside accounting firm and overseen by a committee comprising independent non-executive directors of the company.

'We are confident that this review, when complete, will be entirely confirmatory of the disclosures provided by the company to date,' the firm said.

BHP CEO RETIRES EARLY

Shares in mining giant BHP recovered from early losses to trade flat at £17.92 after it announced that chief executive Andrew Mackenzie would retire at the end of March, three months earlier than previously planned.

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

Mackenzie had been CEO since 2013 and oversaw the massive demerger of South32 in 2015. He also played a prominent part in BHP's $400m plan to help mitigate its climate impact. BHP is a major thermal-coal and petroleum producer.

PHARMA GIANTS MOVE ON REGULATORY NEWS

Pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline added 0.1% to £18.15 on confirming that its ViiV Healthcare joint venture with Pfizer of the US and Shionogi of Japan had received a so-called complete response letter from the US Food and Drug Administration rejecting an HIV treatment.

Rival drug company AstraZeneca shed 0.2% to £77.93 even as its triple combination therapy for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease gained regulatory approval in China.

MID-CAP MOVERS

Shares in personal goods-maker PZ Cussons rallied 7.8% to 200p after a 3% gain on Friday as fund manager Nick Train revealed late last week that he had bought into the stock.

Train said he had 'initiated a new holding, slowly building a position in a company that has been deeply out of favour for a number of years'. The purchase represents the first new stake in a UK-listed company in nine years.

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

Derwent London gained 1.7% to £39.15 after it swapped contracts to sell its long leasehold interest in a London office property to Deka Immobilien for £121.3m.

Real estate portal OnTheMarket lost 4% to 73p 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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