UK stocks are expected to open with little change as traders await to see what effect the result of the referendum on Crimea held over the weekend will have on other markets.
City sources predict the FTSE 100 will open five points lower than Friday's close of 6,527.89.
The Moscow-backed referendum on Crimea, which was criticised by the G7, revealed that 97% of voters wanted to join Russia. Moscow has said it will accept the vote, but both the EU and the US have said it is illegal.
Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari, said: "The result was widely expected and is not the reason why traders are acting with caution at the start of the week. The West has repeatedly stated that it will not recognise the vote, which it believes is illegal due to the conditions that it was carried out under. If Russia now attempts to take control of the Crimean peninsula, the West will have no option but to take action, probably in the form of additional sanctions, which could escalate things further."
He added: "Clearly Russia is not interested in a diplomatic solution that involves Crimea remaining part of the Ukraine, and likewise the West has no intention of allowing Russia to just take control of the region".
"Both sides will be fully aware that the other has the potential to cause a significant amount of pain for the other, which is why neither will want to throw the first punch. The reality is that we're likely to see a long drawn out stand-off between the two, which traders will eventually become bored of and move on to the next thing. I don't think anyone expects this to escalate much further as everyone has too much to lose and too little to gain."
Over in China, the central bank doubled its limit on yuan trading against the dollar, meaning it can trade as much as 2% of the daily bank reference rate, rather an 1%. It said now was the "appropriate time" and part of its "plans for gradual reform".
In the Eurozone, the latest reading on consumer price inflation is due out, although it is not expected to provoke a big reaction.
Shopper numbers in February drop at worst rate since March 2013
Bad weather and a fresh wave of belt-tightening after the New Year sales kept shoppers off the UK high street last month, dealing another blow to the fragile economic recovery.
The number of shoppers in February fell 2.9% against the same month a year ago, when numbers increased by 2.7%, according to the British Retail Consortium and retail researchers Springboard.
The result, which was also down on the 1.6% rise in January and below the three-month average of -1.1%, was the worst for high streets since a 7% drop in March 2013.
In this morning's company news, Vodafone has agreed to buy Grupo Corporativo Ono, Spain's largest next-generation network, for €7.2bn. The much-anticipated deal complements Vodafone Spain's network and will expand the company's reach in the European market.
Bunzl, the FTSE 100 distribution and outsourcing group, has acquired Brazilian healthcare supply and distribution firm Lamedid Comercial e Servicos. Based near São Paulo, Lamedid supplies healthcare consumable products to hospitals, clinics and laboratories as well as to distributors. Revenue in 2013 totalled around £12m.
This week will see the release of High Street retailer Next's results, which are expected to report bigger profits that rival Marks & Spencer for the first time ever. The group previously increased its forecast to £684-700m profit.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury is expected to post 3% drop in like-for-like quarterly revenue this week, having posted a consecutive increase for the past 36.
Sticking with supermarkets, sell shares
of Tesco, the Sunday Telegraph's Questor column advised. Britain's biggest retailer's market share is large at 28.7% but it is falling. Tesco has not yet cut prices in its attempts to revive its fortunes. WM Morrison has promised to cut prices and Tesco could follow but, along with planned store refurbishments, price cuts would reduce earnings cover and increase questions about Tesco's dividend. Tesco shares have fallen 15% since Questor said to sell them in early October. With no change in the basic questions facing Tesco, the advice stands.
Technology group Audioboo is set to float on AIM this week in a bid to raise funds for the development of its core business. AIM-listed UBC Media currently owns a 39% stake.