* FTSE 100 up 0.5 pct
* IHG jumps after media reports of bid interest
* AstraZeneca falls after Pfizer walks away
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, May 27 Britain's top equity index
advanced on Tuesday, led by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
, which became the latest stock to be boosted by possible
IHG jumped 5.5 percent after Sky News reported that
the hotelier had rejected a 6 billion pound ($10.11 billion)
takeover offer from a U.S. bidder. A spokeswoman for IHG
declined to comment on the report.
IHG's advance made it the best-performing stock, in
percentage terms, on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which
rose by 0.5 percent, or 34.28 points, to 6,849.85 points mid-way
through the trading day.
A pick-up in corporate bid activity has underpinned stock
markets this year, enabling them to maintain a broad, upwards
trajectory begun since the start of 2014.
Not all deals have come through, however: drugmaker
AstraZeneca fell 1.9 percent on Tuesday after U.S. rival
Pfizer walked away from making a formal bid for
Nevertheless, traders expressed confidence that the FTSE
would march higher over the course of 2014 and challenge the
7,000 point level, which would mark a record for the index.
"It looks like the upwards momentum is still with us and
that the uptrend should continue," said Dafydd Davies, senior
trader at London-based Prime Wealth Group.
Earlier this month, the FTSE climbed to 6,894.88 points, its
highest level since December 1999, when it set a record peak of
Although the index retreated 0.6 percent last week to post
its biggest weekly decline in more than a month, technical
analysts are still optimistic, and the FTSE remains up by around
1.5 percent since the start of 2014.
"There is still reluctance among traders to take it through
6,900 at this point. That said, the FTSE looks well supported up
here and would probably have to break below 6,750 to alter that
impression," said Charles Stanley analyst Bill McNamara.
($1 = 0.5936 British Pounds)
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Catherine