RSA Insurance was a high riser today after UBS raised its target price for the stock from 100p to 113p and maintained a 'buy' rating. The bank added the stock to its 'Alpha Preferences Most Preferred List', saying: "While there are significant uncertainties, we think that the balance of risks is to the upside."
Meanwhile, the bank also said that a takeover and break-up of RSA still "remains a possibility", following recent market chatter.
Airline easyJet took off ahead of the release of its full-year 2013 traffic statistics tomorrow. Sector peer IAG was also a strong riser.
Petrofac rose after Deutsche Bank lifted the stock to 'buy', while oilfield services peer Wood Group was dampened after the same broker cut its rating to 'hold'.
Broadcaster ITV was another strong riser as sentiment lifted on hopes of a strong advertising market on the back of the strengthening economy.
UK aerospace engineer Meggitt rose following the news it has appointed David Johnson as Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. Johnson will step down as President of Meggitt Equipment Group to take on the newly created role and will be responsible for the group's operating divisions.
Meanwhile, mining stocks declined as a result from less-than-impressive data out from China overnight. The December Chinese HSBC services PMI registered a month-on-month drop, falling from 52.5 to 50.9. Although this marks growth still, it has nonetheless raised concerns that the country is having trouble maintaining such strong growth. Fresnillo, Rio Tinto, Randgold Resources and Anglo American were all declining sharply.
Retailers were also taking a hit. The sector will be closely watched this week ahead of trading updates from the likes of Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury. The festive reporting season so far has been a mixed bag, with a profit warning from Debenhams contrasting with a stellar update from Next on Friday.
M&S was among the worst performers this afternoon following speculation that it is a "likely candidate to suffer from the highly promotional and competitive clothing market", according to Equity Analyst Amisha Chohan from Sanlam Securities.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury was in the red after rival chain Asda reported strong Christmas trading in both store and online.
FTSE 100 - Risers
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 98.90p +7.33%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,609.00p +2.81%
ITV (ITV) 198.50p +1.90%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,468.00p +1.87%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 415.30p +1.84%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,282.00p +1.83%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 790.00p +1.74%
Experian (EXPN) 1,127.00p +1.71%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,292.00p +1.65%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,753.00p +1.62%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 742.50p -3.76%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,295.00p -2.23%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 3,862.00p -1.58%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,277.00p -1.54%
G4S (GFS) 256.60p -1.38%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 810.00p -1.34%
Sage Group (SGE) 396.20p -1.12%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 369.80p -1.12%
Royal Mail (RMG) 574.50p -0.95%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 439.80p -0.95%