StockMarketWire.com - UK markets ended the Monday session on the front foot despite emerging recession fears as investors responded positively to several corporate events and welcomed progress on a possible US-China trade deal.

At the close, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up around 30 points, or 0.3%, at 7,617.06, led by a near 5% gain for mining group Evraz at 409.9p.

Banks acted as a brake on Monday's rally as speculation mounts that the Bank of England could look to cut interest rates in the near future to stimulate the UK economy. Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland were the chief losers, down around 2.5% and 2% respectively at 58.72p and 230.5p.

The effect of a possible rate cut could also be seen in Sterling markets, with the pound sliding against the dollar, euro and Japanese yen.

The FTSE 250 mid cap index made even larger gains, albeit tempering midday strengths, ending the day up 0.6% at 21,696.14.

RECYCLING BUSINESS BUYOUT?

In corporate news, there were weekend reports of takeover interest in water utility Pennon's waste management unit Viridor. According to the Daily Telegraph, private equity firm KKR had made an early bid for Viridor, sending Pennon's share price nearly 6.6% higher to £10.735.

Bookmaker William Hill built on earlier gains to rise roughly 1.2% to 186.6p as it guided for annual earnings to come in ahead of market expectations. Favourable sporting results are given as the chief reason.

Estate agency Savills also posted positive news, saying that it now anticipates that full year results will be at the upper end of its expectations thanks to a strong performance in the UK.

Savills shares jumped more than 7.5% to £12.36.

Testing and assurance technology company Spirent Communications was also a big mover, rallying more than 14% to 233.5p, after lifting its adjusted full year earnings expectations thanks to revenue growth of 5.5%.

That saw Spirent top the FTSE All-Share leader board on Monday.

Pharma firm AstraZeneca failed to hold on to earlier modest gains to drift 3p lower to £76.42 as investors digested conflicting news. On the one hand Astra has seen its application for a drug used to treat ovarian cancer granted priority review in the US. On the down side, the group will also take a write-down of up to $100m this year after binning research on its Epanova heart disease treatment.

Generic rival Hikma Pharmaceuticals gained 1% to £19.28 after it signed a licensing agreement with Italy's Chiesi Farmaceutici, providing Hikma with exclusive rights to commercialise 11 of Chiesi's products in Egypt.

Iron ore group Ferrexpo jumped more than 8% to 157.65p as its pellet output grew 3.5% in the third quarter and higher prices helped boost its margins.

SMALLER COMPANY WRAP

Vehicle tracking-system supplier Quartix advanced 3.5% to 377p after guiding for annual revenue, profit and free cash flow to be 'slightly ahead' of current market forecasts.

According to the company, those 2019 expectations had been pitched at £25.3m, £6.8m and £5.7m of free cash flow.

Healthcare and pharmaceuticals data company Diaceutics rallied more than 13% to 115.5p after announcing that results for the year to December 2019 will be ahead of market expectations.

Southern England and Wales focused pub company, The City Pub, was having a tougher day, dropping more than 9% to 197.5p, as it warned on profit. The weather and political uncertainty were used as excuses. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com