By Steve Goldstein
HSBC Holdings and Diageo led the FTSE 100 higher on Monday, putting the blue chip U.K. index on track for its best one-day gain in three weeks, as the office sector rallied on the news KKR had taken a stake in one of them.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.92% rose 1.6% to 5938.62 in midday trade.
HSBC /zigman2/quotes/203901799/delayed UK:HSBA +0.31% was on top of the leaderboard, and the largest upward pull on the FTSE 100, rising 10% after Chinese insurer Ping An nudged higher its stake in the bank to 8% from 7.95%. Investors interpreted the move as a sign the Chinese government wasn’t about to sanction the lender, which a pro-Beijing newspaper had said was a possibility.
“Our business and operations in China remain normal and we have no reason to believe we would be on an unreliable entity list in China should such a list be produced,” a spokesperson for HSBC told MarketWatch in an emailed statement.
Diageo /zigman2/quotes/205611832/delayed UK:DGE +1.30% jumped 8% after the alcoholic beverages giant said its outlook for the fiscal year has improved, driven in large part by its U.S. business, due to “resilient” consumer demand and the spirits category continuing to gain share within the total beverage alcohol market.
U.K. office plays rose after global investment company KKR on Friday disclosed a 5.4% stake in Great Portland Estates /zigman2/quotes/207061230/delayed UK:GPOR +1.36% , which develops central London real estate. Great Portland rose 13%, Land Securities /zigman2/quotes/207145631/delayed UK:LAND +1.90% rose 9%, Shaftesbury /zigman2/quotes/209932792/delayed UK:SHB +0.78% gained 8% and Derwent London /zigman2/quotes/208447919/delayed UK:DLN 0.00% rose 8%.
British bookie William Hill /zigman2/quotes/201135907/delayed UK:WMH +0.04% fell 13% to 273 pence, after rocketing 43% on Friday when it disclosed Caesars Entertainment and Apollo each were talking about placing separate bids. Caesars Entertainment CZR on Monday said it may offer 272 pence in cash for each share, valuing the company at £2.9 billion. Caesars said the deal, if it comes off, would better serve its customers in the fast-growing U.S. sports betting and online market.