UK stocks surged on Monday on hopes that Greece and its creditors would be able to reach a deal to secure the next tranche of bailout aid later this week.
While there was no new cash-for-reforms agreement at meetings in Brussels, officials said a last-minute proposal by Athens was a good basis for further discussions. The measures, however, were delivered in the early hours of Monday morning and too late to be fully considered by Eurozone finance ministers.
The FTSE 100 ended the session up 115.22 points (+1.72%) at 6,825.67, with blue chips Sky and Severn Trent leading the advance on M&A rumours. FTSE 250 outfit Spire Healthcare also jumped after a sector peer purchased a near-30% stake.
The Eurogroup issued a statement on Monday afternoon, welcoming reform plans made by Greek authorities overnight, labelling them a "positive step in the process".
It asked the European Commission, ECB and IMF to "start analysing the new proposal and together with the Greek authorities work out a list of prior actions with a view to reaching a final agreement on the reform plan later this week".
Equities in Athens jumped 9% by the close with banking stocks driving gains; the National Bank of Greece in particular finished up over 20%. Greek bonds also surged, with the yield on 10-year Greek bonds down 1.49 percentage points at 11.79%.
Sentiment was also given a boost by a strong start on Wall Street with the Dow putting in triple-digit gains and the Nasdaq reaching a new record high after US existing-home sales reached a five-and-a-half-year high.
Sky, Severn Trent and Spire up on M&A
Sky was in demand on rumours that the Murdoch family may be considering a fresh attempt to take full control of the UK broadband and pay-TV operator, after it knocked back approaches for its stake in the company from Vodafone and French media giant Vivendi.
Shares in UK water company Severn Trent rose following a report in The Sunday Times suggesting that Canadian infrastructure investor Borealis was once again considering a bid for the company.
Hospital operator Spire Healthcare jumped on the news that Remgro, a major shareholder of sector peer Mediclinic, is to buy a 29.9% stake from Cinven for 360p per share, equal to £432m. Mediclinc and Remgro confirmed they do not intend to make a full takeover offer, though analysts at Investec said this was still a possibility in the future.
Cruise operator Carnival advanced after Deutsche Bank lifted the stock to 'buy', while HSBC gained on an upgrade to 'buy' at Investec.
Power generator hire firm Aggreko gained after revealing plans to restructure into two units as it announced a raft of management changes.
Shares in Thorntons rocketed over 40% on news that Ferrero International will acquire the company for a 145p per share cash offer that values the fully-diluted capital of Thorntons at approximately £111.9m.
techMARK 3,198.14 +1.32%
FTSE 100 6,825.67 +1.72%
FTSE 250 17,906.29 +1.14%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,176.00p +5.89%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 526.50p +4.15%
Carnival (CCL) 3,288.00p +3.79%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 987.00p +3.68%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 195.30p +3.66%
Sky (SKY) 1,074.00p +3.47%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,446.00p +3.21%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 419.70p +3.12%
CRH (CRH) 1,914.00p +3.07%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,855.00p +2.99%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,413.00p -1.89%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,911.00p -1.85%
Fresnillo (FRES) 703.50p -1.26%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,785.00p -0.34%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Spire Healthcare Group (SPI) 355.00p +10.94%
Jimmy Choo (CHOO) 162.00p +5.88%
Hunting (HTG) 623.50p +5.59%
Spirit Pub Company (SPRT) 119.40p +4.55%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 68.40p +4.35%
Pennon Group (PNN) 853.50p +4.02%
Man Group (EMG) 168.40p +3.82%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 254.40p +3.63%
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 300.00p +3.45%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 581.50p +3.38%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 550.00p -3.25%
Saga (SAGA) 215.10p -2.89%
Shawbrook Group (SHAW) 372.60p -1.49%
Just Retirement Group (JRG) 181.00p -1.36%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 1,875.00p -1.32%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 64.00p -1.31%
AO World (AO.) 147.00p -1.28%
Polar Capital Technology Trust (PCT) 582.50p -1.27%
Allied Minds (ALM) 571.50p -1.12%
Riverstone Energy Limited (RSE) 1,019.00p -1.07%