UK stocks gained on Monday as investors hunted for bargains following a sharp slide in the value of the FTSE 100 over the last week.
Ahead of a busy week for financial markets worldwide, the Footsie was up 0.4% at 6,767.46 early on.
The index had lost 2.5% over the past five sessions on the back of a strengthening US dollar, concerns about Greece and slowdown worries in China.
"The positive open comes after the FTSE was left behind on Friday with French and German bourses rallying late in the session to finish with modest gains, and the GBP/USD currency pair hitting multi-year lows in the afternoon," said analysts at Accendo Markets.
Economic data such as New York manufacturing, US industrial production and Eurozone inflation will be in focus over the next couple of days, though the Federal Reserve decision and UK Budget on Wednesday will likely dominate proceedings this week.
As for the Fed meeting, investors will be waiting to see whether policymakers drop the term 'patient' from their guidance about the timing of interest rates. "More and more investors expect the US central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate sooner rather than later," Accendo Markets said.
CRH drops, Astra study underwhelms
Irish building materials group CRH dropped on the news that Holcim has rejected the terms of a proposed merger with Lafarge, demanding a better deal. CRH is set to snap up 6.5bn of assets from Holcim and Lafarge subject to the completion of the merger.
Results from Astrazeneca's much-anticipated Pegasus study of its Brilinta treatment found that the drug reduced the chances of another heart attack or stroke in patients. However, the stock was slightly lower early on after the study showed that bleeding was higher compared with the placebo.
Shares in Antofagasta were under pressure after reports that the copper miner may have to close it Los Pelambres project in Chile after a court ruling last week to destroy a tailings dam wall at the site on environmental concerns.
Afren's share price was extending losses made Friday when the company proposed a debt-for-equity swap with lenders to keep its afloat. The deal will lead to a substantial dilution of shareholders' interests.
Balfour Beatty was on the rise after Jefferies upgraded the stock to 'buy' and hiked its target price from 115p to 270p.
However, housing-related groups such as Countrywide, Zoopla and Persimmon were subdued after a Goldman Sachs downgrade to 'neutral'.
techMARK 3,202.71 +0.32%
FTSE 100 6,767.46 +0.40%
FTSE 250 17,194.25 +0.50%
FTSE 100 - Risers
Compass Group (CPG) 1,190.00p +1.97%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 3,311.00p +1.88%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 459.00p +1.71%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,875.00p +1.68%
Meggitt (MGGT) 584.50p +1.65%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 2,682.00p +1.63%
Prudential (PRU) 1,696.00p +1.56%
Next (NXT) 7,460.00p +1.50%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 500.50p +1.40%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,135.00p +1.34%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
CRH (CRH) 1,765.00p -2.54%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 201.20p -1.37%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,768.00p -1.12%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 256.20p -1.12%
Glencore (GLEN) 274.65p -0.97%
Shire Plc (SHP) 5,475.00p -0.91%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 1,111.00p -0.80%
Standard Life (SL.) 464.80p -0.71%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 963.00p -0.67%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 694.50p -0.57%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Allied Minds (ALM) 660.00p +3.12%
Provident Financial (PFG) 2,724.00p +3.06%
Saga (SAGA) 181.30p +2.78%
Beazley (BEZ) 293.90p +2.76%
Informa (INF) 578.50p +2.75%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 233.00p +2.46%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 495.00p +2.38%
Indivior (INDV) 178.70p +2.29%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 380.40p +2.26%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 657.00p +2.02%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Afren (AFR) 3.90p -16.13%
Nostrum Oil & Gas (NOG) 560.00p -4.44%
AO World (AO.) 184.80p -3.55%
Serco Group (SRP) 175.90p -3.51%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 470.90p -3.25%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 155.60p -1.95%
Hunting (HTG) 445.70p -1.81%
Premier Oil (PMO) 127.70p -1.77%
Polymetal International (POLY) 512.50p -1.73%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 382.60p -1.52%