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Market News

19 Dec 2018 | 09:02

UK stocks open 0.3% higher; buoyed by GSK merger news

UK stocks opened stronger on Wednesday after merger news boosted healthcare stocks and investors braced for a Fed rates decision due later in the day.

At 0850, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 20.98 points, or 0.3%, at 6.722.57.

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline rallied 7.4% after it announced the formation of a new consumer healthcare joint venture with Pfizer that could be listed separately on the stock exchange.

Rival drug company Shire gained 1.2%.

Flybe shares rocketed 18% higher after Virgin Atlantic confirmed that it was still mulling a takeover of the UK regional carrier.

Online gambling group 888 gained 4.4% on announcing that it remained confident that adjusted earnings for the full year would be in-line with its expectations, citing progress against strategic objectives in the second half.

Shipping group Gulf Marine Services tumbled 60% after it warned it would breach its debt covenants amid pressure on earnings from an industry oversupply of vessels.

Silence Therapeutics rallied 5.8% on announcing that it had identified a new potential treatment candidate for cardiovascular disease.

James Fisher and Sons added 0.4% after it won a £30m contract to construct a search and rescue vessel for the Korean navy.

Embattled power retailer Yu Group plunged another 33% on the back of revelations it is being investigated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority over the accuracy of its market filings.

Renewable fuels group Velocys gained 5.1% as it secured a site for its UK waste-to-jet-fuel project, being developed in collaboration with British Airways and Shell. Story provided by
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