Banking group HSBC topped the blue-chip risers’ board as investors cheered comments from its Scots-born chairman that the lender was consider moving its headquarters out of the UK.
Douglas Flint flagged the need to separate the lender’s UK investment banking arm from its retail division, as well as uncertainty surrounding the UK’s continued membership of the European Union.
Shares ended the day up 17.5p or 2.9 per cent at 629.7p, and IG senior market analyst Chris Beauchamp said the group was “opening the batting on further discussions regarding the UK’s bank levy, with the threat to up sticks a means of applying somewhat unsubtle pressure on the British government”.
Rival Standard Chartered, which is also London-based and focused on Asia, lifted on speculation that it might follow suit. Its shares added 8p to 1,070p.
Elsewhere, defence contractor BAE Systems rose 11p to 514.5p after saying it could sell parts of its US-based intelligence and security operation. The firm has asked external advisers to carry out a strategic assessment of the businesses after receiving a number of enquiries.
The FTSE 100 finished the session up 17.03 points at 7,070.7, with sterling also higher as debt-laden Greece remained at loggerheads with European creditors amid fears of its possible exit from the single currency.
AstraZeneca shares fell 80.5p to 4,749.5p as it reported lower first-quarter sales and profits.
Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser dipped 10p to 5,991p, even though the maker of Nurofen and Strepsils insisted it was on track to meet its full-year target for a 4 per cent rise in like-for-like net revenue growth.
The biggest FTSE 100 faller was publishing group Pearson, which dropped 42p or 3 per cent to 1,360p after saying chairman Glen Moreno will be stepping down within the next year.