* FTSE 100 up 0.5 pct
* IHG rises after media report of bid interest
* AstraZeneca falls after Pfizer walks away
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, May 27 Britain's main equity index
advanced on Tuesday, led by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
, which became the latest stock to gain ground on
potential interest from a bidder.
IHG rose 4.4 percent after Sky News reported it 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
IHG's advance made it the biggest gainer in percentage
terms, on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which was up by
0.5 percent, or 32.07 points, at 6,847.82 points going into the
close of trading.
A pick-up in mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity has
underpinned stock markets this year, enabling them to maintain a
broad, upwards trajectory begun at the start of 2014.
But not all deals have come through. Drugmaker AstraZeneca
fell 2.4 percent after U.S. rival Pfizer walked
away from making a formal bid.
Traders remained confident that the FTSE would progress
further this year to 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," Dafydd Davies, senior trader
at London-based Prime Wealth Group, said.
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," Charles Stanley analyst Bill McNamara said.
($1 = 0.5936 British Pounds)
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Catherine
Evans and Jane Merriman)