Johnnie Walker owner Diageo toasted a second day of share price gains as rumours over a possible £100 billion tie-up with brewer SABMiller continued to do the rounds.
Shares in Scotland’s biggest whisky distiller were up 2 per cent at 1,902.5, as the wider market finally found some impetus for gains. SABMiller improved by a more modest 27p to 3,415p.
The FTSE 100 Index gained 58.98 points at 6,802.92.
Michael Hewson chief market analyst at CMC, said: “The best performers have been the miners helped by the improvement in Chinese economic activity and rising commodity prices, notably copper, with Anglo American, Fresnillo and Rio Tinto leading the gainers.”
Anglo was the biggest riser in the top flight, up 4 per cent at 1,487p. With surveys showing Chinese manufacturing in better health than expected, Fresnillo and Rio Tinto both added 3 per cent at 898.5p and 3,202.5p respectively.
Supermarkets were under the spotlight after the latest till-roll figures from Kantar Worldpanel offered more disappointment from Morrisons and Tesco.
The pair were down 3.2p at 180.2p and 0.1p to 284.2p respectively after their sales and market share performance declined in the 12 weeks to 23 June. Sainsbury’s saw sales lift by 3 per cent on a year earlier but the stock still declined 1.4p to 314.1p.
Outside the top flight, shares in grocery delivery firm Ocado failed to rise despite the company swinging to a first-half profit. The impact of price competition meant shares slid more than 4 per cent or 16.3p to 355p.
Bakery chain Greggs rose 23.5p to 559.5p on signs that it is seeing a recovery in sales and profits. It expects operating profits of more than £16m later this month, up from £11.5mn last year.