Punters Beating the Summertime Blues; Market Report

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Byline: GEOFF FOSTER

MARKET REPORT STRESSED, anxious, depressed? Who isn't these days when just getting to work in the morning can be such a headache.

The antidote for many investors yesterday was to have a summertime punt on Ultrasis. Shares of the online healthcare company rose 0.17p, or 20pc, to 0.91p on turnover of 44m shares amid growing speculation that it's Beating the Blues (BtB) flagship computerised behaviour therapy package is on the verge of a major NHS breakthrough.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), the independent NHS advisory body, recently published an authoritative report on its website stating that BtB was the only evidencebased Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy option for the treatment of mild and moderate depression. It strongly recommended its usage.

Completely drug free, BtB is presented in eight weekly modules of onehour sessions in a primary care setting, and uses animations and voiceovers to motivate and engage people who are under the weather.

NICE is expected to make its formal recommendation to the Department of Health in September. This could lead to a potential nationwide NHS prescription rollout of BtB, which would constitute a huge leap forward for Ultrasis in terms of ambition and finance.

Elsewhere, the black stuff dominated proceedings yet again. As the price of crude oil gushed to a record high, the Footsie gushed a further 29.6 points higher to 5344.3. Royal Dutch Shell rose 13p to 1868p and BP 12p to 6491/2p.

Impressive interim results from international bank Standard Chartered (86p better at 1211p) didn't do sentiment any harm either.

Mining stocks shrugged off South Africa's first national gold mining strike in 18 years. BHP Billiton advanced 151/2p to 840p and Rio Tinto 27p to 2020p.

Fund manager Aegon Asset Management was the rumoured big seller of a basket of midcap stocks.

Associated British Ports nosedived 81/4p to 463p after AAM sold 9.65m shares. AAM used Dresdner Kleinwort Benson to sell 16m Bodycote (91/4p off at 195p) at 198p and got Citigroup to place 4. …