London’s FTSE 100 enjoyed a positive start on Monday after Asian exchanges were boosted by positive Chinese industrial profit data and as HSBC (HSBA) jumped following the news a large investor has raised its stake in the beaten-down bank.
At 8.30, the blue chip benchmark was 1.5% higher at 5,929.53, while the FTSE 250 was trading 0.9% higher at 17,194.20.
Unloved banking behemoth HSBC rose 10% to 311.9p on the news its largest shareholder, China’s Ping An Asset Management, has raised its holding in the lender from 7.95% to 8%, a vote of confidence that translated into a substantial rally for the shares both in Hong Kong and London.
Spirits giant Diageo (DGE) fizzed up 5.8% to £26.68 on news the Johnnie Walker-to-Smirnoff maker’s outlook for the first half of fiscal 2021 has improved since the year-end, reflecting a ‘good start to the year, particularly for our US business’.
Diageo continues to expect ‘sequential improvement in organic net sales and operating profit’ compared to the second half of fiscal 2020, although the drinks giant still expects lower organic sales and margin dilution compared to the first half of 2020.
Gambling group William Hill (WMH) slumped 13% to 271.4p, paring Friday’s large gains, after casino giant Caesars Entertainment revealed it had pegged its takeover offer for the company at £2.9 billion.
Caesars said William Hill’s directors had indicated the 272p per share bid was ‘at a price level that they would be minded to recommend’. William Hill shares soared on Friday when it announced it had received separate takeover approaches from Caesars and private equity group Apollo.
Daily Mirror and Daily Express publisher Reach (RCH) rallied 18.6% to 76.5p, despite booking a 57% drop in first-half profit as the pandemic hit sales already under pressure.
Investors welcomed the news Reach is currently performing ‘materially ahead’ of market expectations for the full year thanks to a strong recovery in third quarter digital advertising.
Insurer Chesnara (CSN) ticked up 0.5p to 269.5p after raising its interim dividend despite swinging to a pre-tax loss in the first half of the year owing to an impairment charge and losses resulting from the impact of the pandemic.