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27 Dec 2019 | 12:12

Leading indexes rally on return to trading despite thin news

UK stocks are in positive territory at midday trading as miners pull the rest of the market up by their bootstraps in the first session back after the Christmas break.

Steel producer Evraz leads the FTSE 100 leader board, rallying 3% at 407.7p, closely followed by Glencore, the commodities trader and producer, which made 2%-plus gains to 239.85p.

Headline-making private hospitals firm NMC heads the leading index's loser board, off another 2% to £17.44 as it continues to struggle to win back investor support following the Muddy Waters bear raid allegations prior to the festive holiday.

At 12pm, the FTSE 100 had retained earlier morning 0.4% gains, adding around 32 points to 7,655.22, close to 2019 highs.

The positive mood also lifted the FTSE 250 to 2019 highs, rallying 0.8% to 22,018.16. If the mid cap index can manage to stay at these levels it will be the first time ever that its has closed above the 22,000 mark.

INVESTORS MULL WASHOUT BOXING DAY SALES

Investors appeared to start worrying about reports of a washout Boxing Day for retailers, with sector share prices mixed on Friday.

Springboard said footfall up until midday on Boxing Day had seen the largest decline since 2010, down 10.6%. It said rainy weather, ongoing rise in online shopping and increased Black Friday spending were possible factors for the drop in footfall.

Retail heavyweights Next and Marks & Spencer made reasonable 0.7% and 1.4% gains, to £71.62 and 219.2p respectively, although online fashion came under some pressure.

Hot online retail names such as ASOS and Boohoo both dipped modestly on Friday, down around the 1% mark at £33.10 and 295.3p respectively, although TheWorks.co.uk, another online specialist, failed to hang on to earlier gains, its share price drifting 1.8% to 27.2p.

ELSEWHERE ON A QUIET DAY

Anglo African Oil & Gas slumped 10% on the news that it plans to sell its natural resources assets and become a cash shell.

Investment trust Downing Strategic Micro-Cap jumped nearly 8% higher on a national newspaper share tip, to 73.5p.

US Solar Fund was unmoved on the news that it will buy eight operating solar projects in North Carolina.

88 Energy lost some of its earlier gains, adding 2.3% at 1.1p, after saying preparations were going to plan for the February drilling of its Charlie-1 appraisal well in Alaska.

Elsewhere, corporate news was very thin with only a handful of director appointments announced. Ex-Qinetiq and BAE Systems executive Clive Richardson is becoming Chairman of InfraStrata. Research professor Robin Rogers is joining Ross Group as a non-executive director.

On the NEX market, Imperial X said it would seek shareholder approval to scrap its current listing in favour of a higher profile one on London's Main Market. It also wants to switch focus from the cannabis investment market to buying oil and gas royalties.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com
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