Supermarket group Morrison was the top riser this afternoon as it continued to recover after a steep fall last week following a bigger-than-expected drop in like-for-like sales over Christmas. Broker Shore Capital said it expects activist investors to continue to show interest in Morrisons as reports suggested it was planning to sell 10 per cent of its shop portfolio.
Such a move could raise as much as £800m, of which a sizeable portion could end up back in shareholder hands by way of dividends.
In contrast to much of the rest of its sector, oilfield services group AMEC was also higher after saying it would buy Switzerland-based rival Foster Wheeler for £1.9bn. The company said that the combination of the businesses "is a compelling proposition for all shareholders".
Miners climbed following the start of the controversial minerals export ban in Indonesia, which pushed metal prices higher. The Indonesian government has banned miners from exporting unprocessed materials, sparking fears of supply problems, in turn propelling the price of nickel higher.
Banks were also making decent gains after the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision eased the terms of a rule on financial institutions' leverage ratios, reducing the pressure on banks to raise more capital to meet requirements. UK lenders Barclays, Lloyds and RBS were all in demand.
Heading the other way were oil stocks, with Tullow, BP and Shell all tracking the price of crude lower. BP also took a hit from a negative appellate court ruling over the weekend in Louisiana. Shell was the object of negative commentary in this past weekend's FT Lex column.
British American Tobacco declined after Nomura reduced its target price on the stock from 3,720p to 3,640p. It maintained its 'buy' rating on the stock.
SSE was also hit by broker comments, as BNP Exane Paribas slashed its rating to 'neutral'. Fellow energy stock Centrica declined after the broker reiterated its 'underperform' rating on the stock.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 248.70p +5.34%
Amec (AMEC) 1,110.00p +2.87%
Fresnillo (FRES) 697.50p +2.72%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,802.00p +2.42%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 364.90p +2.24%
Barclays (BARC) 289.80p +2.19%
Experian (EXPN) 1,129.00p +1.99%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,680.00p +1.88%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,272.00p +1.80%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 352.10p +1.76%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 887.00p -2.47%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,030.50p -1.75%
SSE (SSE) 1,344.00p -1.47%
Schroders (SDR) 2,594.00p -1.33%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,654.00p -1.08%
Kingfisher (KGF) 385.30p -1.03%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 804.00p -0.99%
Centrica (CNA) 327.40p -0.94%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 749.50p -0.86%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 875.00p -0.62%