StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks got off to a strong start on Monday after Asian exchanges were boosted by positive Chinese industrial profit data, while HSBC jumped after a large investor raised its stake in the beaten-down bank.

At 0825, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 86.6 points, or 1.5%, at 5,929.27.

HSBC rallied 10% after China's Ping An Insurance upped its stake in the company to 8%.

Gambling group William Hill 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 had already soared on Friday, when it announced it had received separate takeover approaches from Caesars and private equity group Apollo.

Alcoholic drinks maker Diageo jumped 5.7% to £26.66 on announcing that its outlook for the first half of its 2021 financial year had improved, citing particular strength at its US business.

Diageo said its first-half sales were still expected to be down year-on-year, but higher compared to the second half of its 2020 financial year.

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands added 1.0% to £14.10, even as it agreed to delay by a month the completion of a €1.2 billion sale of its premium cigar businesses amid challenges caused by Covid-19.

The sale, conducted in two parts to Gemstone Investment and Allied Cigar Corporation, was now expected to be sealed by 29 October.

'Daily Mirror' and 'Daily Express' newspaper publisher Reach soared 20% to 77.19p, despite booking a 57% drop in first-half profit as the pandemic hit sales already under pressure from a structural migration of readers online.

Reach, however, also said it was currently performing 'materially ahead' of market expectations for the full year as digital sales improved. It recommended a bonus issue to shareholders equivalent to an interim dividend of 2.63p per share.

Investment banking and broking group Numis rose 1.0% to 296p having guided for a 'materially higher' annual profit amid a jump in revenue.

Pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan advanced 5.8% to 18.11p after it won a £4.3m contract to conduct a human viral challenge study for a global vaccine company that it didn't name.

Engineering group Van Elle fell 4.2% to 34p, even as it said operations had continued to improve since its last market update, with revenue in August at around 80% of normal pre-Covid levels. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com