StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 held onto its gains throughout Monday despite a rally in the pound, having been boosted by positive Chinese industrial profit data, as well as a rally in HSBC shares after a large investor raised its stake in the beaten-down bank.

The UK's benchmark index closed 1.46% higher to 5,927.93.

HSBC rallied 8.9% to 308.5p after China's Ping An Insurance upped its stake in the company to 8%, in what is considered a big vote of confidence in the bank by the Chinese firm.

Gambling group William Hill slumped 11.6% to 275.9p, 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 6.1% to £26.75 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 gained 0.3% to £14 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 17.2% to 75.6p, 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 0.7% to 295p having guided for a 'materially higher' annual profit amid a jump in revenue.

Pharmaceutical services company Open Orphan advanced 8.6% to 18.6p 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 1.41% to 35p even as it said operations had continued to improve since its last market update, with revenue in August at around 80% of normal pre-coronavirus levels.


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