NEW YORK, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Talk about further consolidation in the brewing industry was helping lift consumer staple stocks on the S&P 500, with the largest gainers Altria , in point terms, and Molson Coors, percentage-wise.
Altria rose 2.8 percent to $44.37 as the maker of Marlboro cigarettes has a near 27 percent stake in SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer, which larger rival Anheuser-Busch InBev would be interested in buying, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Monday.
News that AB InBev was talking to banks about financing for a deal that would be worth over $100 billion followed a confirmation from third-largest brewer Heineken on Sunday of an approach from SAB, which the Dutch brewer rebuffed.
As a result, the stock of all three brewers closed at a record in Europe.
Molson Coors, a smaller player with a market cap of about $14.2 billion as of Friday's close, jumped 7.2 percent in afternoon trading to $76.94 after also hitting a record high.
The consumer staples sector of the S&P 500, down less than 1 percent from a record high set earlier this month, was up 0.4 percent on Monday.
Index snapshot at 12:56 EDT (1656 GMT):
* S&P 500 was falling 2.25 points, or 0.11 percent.
* Nasdaq Comp was losing 44.09 points, or 0.97 percent.
* Dow industrials was adding 20.25 points, or 0.12 percent.
* Russell 2000 was falling 12.85 points, or 1.11 percent.
* S&P MidCap was dropping 6.52 points, or 0.46 percent.
* S&P SmallCap was losing 5.81 points, or 0.87 percent.
Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Chris Reese