UK Plc shares hail Johnson's storming election victory

LONDON (Reuters) – UK shares focused on the domestic economy surged on Friday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservatives convincingly won a national election, reassuring markets that Britain is likely to be headed for an orderly exit from the European Union.

The FTSE 100 .FTSE index rose 1.1% as a rally in utilities, retailers, housebuilders and banking stocks offset the drag from sterling, which surged to a 19-month high against the U.S. dollar.

Housebuilders soared, with Taylor Wimpey (TW.L), Berkeley (BKGH.L) and Persimmon (PSN.L) all up about 14%, reaching record highs and topping the blue-chip index.

The FTSE 250 index .FTMC, home to many companies with high UK exposures, surged as much as 5.2% to record highs, before easing slightly to end up 3.4%.

Trading volumes on the FTSE 100 .FTSE index surged to nearly three times their daily average.

Stocks were benefiting from the Conservative victory and reports of a trade deal between China and the United States, said Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays.

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“The banking sector, real estate, construction, utilities, all these sectors are expected to benefit from the ‘feel-good’ factor”.

Johnson’s victory lifted nationalisation fears hanging over utility stocks, boosting National Grid (NG.L) and United Utilities (UU.L), which rose 4.5% and 6.7% respectively.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had announced plans to nationalise utilities in his election manifesto.

Corbyn said on Friday he would step down as Labour leader. That decision is likely to be the biggest factor driving banks and utilities higher, by affirming nationalisation is now “off the table”, said Citi analyst Andrew Coombs.

Among financials, RBS (RBS.L) and Virgin Money (VMUK.L) stood out, rising 8.4% and 18.7%.

JPMorgan’s basket of London-listed companies .JPDEUKDM that make their cash in domestic markets rose 6.3% on Friday to record highs.

“I think there has been a huge ‘underweight’ on UK assets and we are seeing it unwind,” said Kasper Elmgreen, head of equities at asset manager Amundi. “UK domestics are attractively priced and there is more way to go.”

Graphic: UK election, here

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