Utilities, bookmakers boosted by likely Conservative victory

Utilities, bookmakers boosted by likely Conservative victory
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with supporters during an election visit with his wife Samantha to Hayesfield Girls' School in Bath, Britain May 4, 2015.

LONDON - Shares in British utilities and bookmakers jumped on Friday as UK election results pointed towards a Conservative government, avoiding the prospect of tougher regulatory moves posed by the opposition Labour party.

After an unexpectedly strong showing, David Cameron's Conservatives looked set for victory with Labour leader Ed Miliband all but conceding defeat.

Shares in British Gas owner Centrica, Britain's largest energy supplier, and SSE rose 6.8 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively in early trade.

Labour had pushed for greater intervention in Britain's energy market, with Miliband pledging a price freeze and rules to force the largest utilities to openly sell their entire energy production into the market.

Britain's two biggest bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes were also on the rise, up 5.5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively, as uncertainty around another hit to earnings appeared to be removed.

Labour had vowed to hand local councils the right to reduce the number of fixed-odds betting terminals in betting shops or ban them, a power that would have further hurt revenues of firms already faced with rising regulation and taxes.

Shares in banks also jumped on Friday as prospects were removed of a break-up of Britain's biggest banks and further hikes in the bank levy.

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