Shares in property and infrastructure company Hopewell Holdings surged more than 6 per cent yesterday, becoming the latest laggard to be boosted by rumours that a mainland party may be preparing to buy into the company. Traders said Hopewell shares surged after a newspaper reported that China Everbright-IHD Pacific, a member of the mainland-backed China Everbright Group, was about to buy a strategic stake in the construction company. Hopewell closed 25 cents stronger at $4.35 - its biggest one-day gain this year - after earlier climbing as much as 9.1 per cent. The surge came despite the fact Hopewell's management denied the speculation through a stock exchange announcement in the afternoon. Hopewell executive director Robert Nien Van-jin said the company's board was not involved in any negotiations or agreements relating to the sale of a stake. A spokesman for Hopewell later said the original story - published in the Chinese-language Apple Daily - was 'completely inaccurate'. The spokesman said Hopewell was not in any negotiations with any member of the China Everbright group. The rumours of a purchase by China Everbright were almost identical to those which have recently boosted other laggard stocks. Utility Hongkong Electric Holdings and clothing retailer Giordano International both surged after speculation they too were targets of the China Everbright group. Analysts said in Hopewell's case the rumours could have more foundation because there had been plenty of earlier speculation that managing director Sir Gordon Wu Ying-sheung might be about to sell out of the company. The Wu family owns about 30 per cent of the company's issued share capital. Late last month, Hopewell shares rose on talk that Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings was going to buy into Hopewell. Cheung Kong (Holdings) chairman Li Ka-shing, speaking at his company's annual general meeting, later denied the reports. Analysts said while a stake sale could not be ruled out, the latest rumours appeared to be simply a function of the high liquidity in the market, which meant it did not take much for stocks to be bid up by such market talk. NatWest Securities investment analyst Joanne Wong said: 'It seems people are spreading rumours about any company that has lagged behind the market.' Despite yesterday's surge, Hopewell shares are still 13 per cent down on last year, while the Hang Seng Index has gained 33.03 per cent in the same period. One analyst who asked not to be named said he did not foresee any stake sale unless Sir Gordon decided to sell out completely. '[Sir Gordon] is a clever person,' he said. 'I don't think he would sell when Hopewell shares are only $4. 'Two years ago there were trading as high as $6 or $7. From a business point of view, it doesn't make sense, but from a political one - who knows.'