Natural resources oriented stocks, including oil, mining and minerals companies, largely traded in positive territory on Tuesday but election jitters weighed on much of the FTSE 100 following the May bank holiday weekend.
At 16:03 BST, the blue chip index was down 25.27 points or 0.36% at 6960.68 feeling the weight of a possible hung parliament in wake of the UK general election on 7 May.
However, oil and gas stocks, buoyed by an uptick in oil prices, led the way. In a statement, Saudi Aramco - the country's national oil company - said it would be raising its official selling prices (OSPs) for exports to Europe and North America, while holding them at previous levels for Asia.
Both leading benchmarks - Brent and WTI - rose on the news as a higher OSP from the world's largest oil exporter is often seen as a sign of rising remand. Brent was trading up 2.62% or $1.74 at $68.19 per barrel while the WTI was up 2.53% or $1.49 at $60.42.
Both blue chip oil and gas majors BP (up 1.97%) and Shell ('A' shares
up 2.14%, 'B' shares up 1.95%) responded positively to the development, as did the mid-caps led by Tullow Oil (up 3.17%). It resulted in the headline oil and gas producers' index trading up 2.31% or 174.35 points at 7,705.95.
Oilfield services, engineering and equipment firms also reflected the positivity with Hunting (up 5.09%), Wood Group (up 3.13%), Petrofac (up 1.67%) and Amec (up 1.43%) all in the green. It meant the headline segment index finished up 2.31% or 429.21 points at 19,029.92.
While Chinese economic data disappointed, and the Reserve Bank of Australia surprised with a 25 basis-point cut in interest rates to another record low of 2%, selected mining and minerals stock shrugged off the negativity noted during Asian trading.
Majors Anglo American (up 0.30%), Rio Tinto (up 0.77%) and BHP Billiton (up 0.37%) marginally reversed the effect of an Australian sell-off in London trading. Glencore, which reported a 9% drop in its copper output for the first quarter, also recovered trading up 0.62% as the close of London market approached.
Continuing with the sector shares in Kalimantan Gold rose by over 25% after the mining group confirmed it had received a drilling permit from the Indonesian government. Having secured approval, which is valid for two years, the company will now begin its planned work programme at the Beruang Kanan copper project in Central Kalimantan.
Other major beneficiaries of positive sentiment were Lonmin (up 5.46%), Kaz Minerals (up 4.85%) and Fresnillo (up 2.88%) on a good day which did not start all that well for the sector.
Top five sectors
Oil & Gas Producers 7,705.95 +174.35 +2.31%
Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution 19,029.92 +429.21 +2.31%
Mining 15,171.29 +214.17 +1.43%
Industrial Metals & Mining 1,910.65 +19.70 +1.04%
Food & Drug Retailers 3,203.31 +32.54 +1.03%