UK stocks started the week on the front foot with the FTSE 100 index adding 22 points or 0.3% to 7,172.

Biggest contributors to the rise in terms of index points were the banks with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) adding 2.6% to 245p, Barclays (BARC) adding 1.3% to 167p and Lloyds (LLOY) adding 1.6% to 61.2p.

Shares in drug-maker AstraZeneca (AZN) dipped 0.4% to £67.43 despite news that its diabetes drug farxiga received US approval for use in reducing the risk of heart failure among patients with cardio-vascular diseases.

Middle East-based healthcare operator NMC Health (NMC) topped the FTSE 100, gaining 3.8% to £27.50 on a bullish capital markets day update and confirmation of its short-term targets.

Revenues are expected to top $2.5bn this year and $2.8bn next year while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will be around $670m this year and between $750m and $780m next year.

Elsewhere in the healthcare sector Smith & Nephew (SN.) fell 4.3% to £17.50 after the surprise news that chief executive officer Namal Nawana would stand down at the end of October to ‘pursue other opportunities outside of the UK’.

Nawana will be replaced by Roland Diggelmann, who joined the firm’s board as a non-executive director in March 2018 was previously head of Roche Diagnostics which turned over $11.5bn last year.

The biggest loser on the FTSE 100 was Prudential (PRU), down 10% to £13.5, although this was a technical reaction to the de-merger of the M&G funds business which completed today. Shares in M&G (MNG) traded at 216.6p on their first day back on the market.

Shares in enterprise software company Micro Focus (MCRO) fell 7.4% to £10.05 after it flagged that despite press speculation there was no bid approach from Canada’s Open Text.

Investors lost their appetites for fast food delivery platform Just Eat (JE.), set to merge with Dutch firm Takeaway.com, with the shares souring 6.3% to 585.6p on third quarter numbers showing a slowdown in growth since the first half.

Gold producer Petropavlovsk (POG) gained 1% to 9.7p on a positive third quarter trading update. Gold sales increased by 53% in volume terms and by 13% in price terms to $1,388 per ounce.

Shares in peer-to-peer loan platform Funding Circle (FCH) leapt 10% to 113p after it reported a 31% increase in loans in the third quarter and confirmed its full year earnings guidance.

For a full list of the top FTSE 100 and 250 gainers and losers click here.

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Issue Date: 21 Oct 2019