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    UKX   GB0001383545

FTSE 100

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FTSE 100 gains for ninth straight session, midcaps near record high

12/23/2019 | 12:26pm EDT
A trader works as screens show market data at CMC markets in London

Britain's blue-chip equities index gained for a ninth straight session on Monday in holiday-thinned trading, while midcaps hovered near all-time highs.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.5% to hit its highest in nearly five months and match its best run of gains since May 2017. The FTSE 250 jumped 0.8%, up for the third straight session.

Both benchmark indexes drifted lower in early dealings as traders locked in profits ahead of Christmas, but a lack of negative news and paltry trading volumes helped them recover.

"Given the low liquidity conditions, it does not take much to change the market," Raymond James analyst Chris Bailey said. "Note too the lack of real losers. Classic squeeze up just ahead of Christmas."

The stand-out gainer was NMC Health, which surged almost 37% on its best day ever after it promised an independent review of its books. Its shares had nearly halved in value last week after short-selling firm Muddy Waters questioned its finances.

"The fact the company is taking such action implies they don't have anything to hide, which has encouraged some traders to swoop in and snap up the relatively cheap stock," CMC Markets analyst David Madden said.

Dealers seemed content to reflect on major developments of the month, including a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade talks and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's election victory which have helped the FTSE 100 surge nearly 5% in the last two weeks.

The exporter-heavy index is on course for its best month since June, while the more domestically-focussed midcaps are on track for a fourth straight month of gains. Both benchmark indexes look set for their ninth month of gains this year.

Some of that momentum has eased after Johnson's hard line on a trade agreement with the European Union revived fears of a chaotic Brexit and market players are likely to hold off on making further bets before the new year.

Lingering Brexit concerns left sterling hamstrung on Monday, boosting firms with a larger international exposure such as Shell, Unilever and Diageo, which lent further support to the main index.

Other news-driven moves saw AIM-listed Nichols drop 10% to its lowest since Jan. 3, after the Vimto soft drinks maker warned on its 2020 profit.

By Shashwat Awasthi

© Reuters 2019
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BEST INC. -5.19% 1.28 Delayed Quote.-37.25%
CHANGE INC. -0.82% 3030 End-of-day quote.-14.04%
CMC MARKETS PLC 1.12% 453 Delayed Quote.15.86%
DIAGEO PLC -0.83% 3459.5 Delayed Quote.20.21%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) 0.50% 0.85902 Delayed Quote.-4.33%
FTSE 100 -1.90% 7017.47 Delayed Quote.8.62%
FTSE MID 250 INDEX -0.94% 22324.19 Delayed Quote.8.87%
MSCI UNITED KINGDOM (STRD) -2.97% 1133.898 Real-time Quote.13.34%
NICHOLS PLC 0.67% 1502.5 Delayed Quote.11.30%
NMC HEALTH PLC 0.00%End-of-day quote.-46.89%
RAYMOND JAMES FINANCIAL, INC. -2.61% 124.06 Delayed Quote.33.15%
S&P UNITED KINGDOM (PDS) -1.95% 1397.67 Delayed Quote.9.14%
SET -0.29% 1612.98 Real-time Quote.11.29%
SNAP INC. 1.41% 63.17 Delayed Quote.26.16%
UNILEVER PLC -1.03% 4307 Delayed Quote.-1.94%
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Chart FTSE 100
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FTSE 100 Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
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Technical analysis trends FTSE 100
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Top / Flop FTSE 100
FRESNILLO PLC 823.4 Delayed Quote.2.26%
AUTO TRADER GROUP PLC 631.4 Delayed Quote.0.45%
PERSHING SQUARE HOLDINGS, LTD. 35.85 Real-time Quote.0.42%
J SAINSBURY PLC 260.1 Delayed Quote.0.31%
ADMIRAL GROUP PLC 3209 Delayed Quote.0.25%
JOHNSON MATTHEY PLC 3018 Delayed Quote.-3.82%
WHITBREAD PLC 3202 Delayed Quote.-4.50%
ANGLO AMERICAN PLC 2732.5 Delayed Quote.-4.54%
MONDI PLC 1844 Delayed Quote.-4.70%
MELROSE INDUSTRIES PLC 156.35 Delayed Quote.-5.67%
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