The FTSE 100 index has opened down 6.3 points, or 0.1%, at 6,126.1 as higher oil prices have weighed on the market and utilities appear shy as hopes of consolidation in the sector are fading.
Transport stocks have been hit by the continued strength in oil prices. Carnival has fallen 1.4% to £27.83 while British Airways has lost 1.1% to 337.5p.
While crude oil prices have eased slightly following their recent rally, oil stocks are continuing to trade well. Royal Dutch Shell is up 1% to £20.63 and BG Group is 1.2% higher at 789.5p.
Scottish Power has dragged on utilities following reports that German group E.on is now unlikely to continue its pursuit of the UK company, preferring instead Spain’s Endesa. Shares in Scottish Power have shed 1.2% to 568p.
Fellow utilities are lower in sympathy with Severn Trent down 0.9% at £11.69 and United Utilities 0.7% lower at 682.5p.
BT Group is leading blue-chip gainers after it attempted to clarify the situation of its pension scheme to investors. The telecoms group has said discussions on the triennial funding valuation of the scheme and the associated funding plan are continuing.
Mirroring overnight gains in Asia, mining stocks made gains as copper and aluminium prices rose to new highs. BHP Billiton and Xstrata are both up 1.7% to £12.01 and £21.24 respectively while Anglo American is up 1.1% to £24.88.
In Japan stocks dropped sharply this morning as major car and electronics exporters were undermined by a jump in the yen's value against the dollar.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index shed 489.56 points to close at 16,914.40 a short while ago with profit-taking, spurred by a weaker dollar-yen exchange rate and Friday's falls on Wall Street the main reason.
Stocks fell in reaction to the surge in oil prices and the yen, which gained after senior finance and central bank officials from the world's largest economies ended their meeting in Washington on Sunday with a call for greater flexibility in exchange rates.
Big exporters dropped. By midday, Honda Motor Co. was down 3.3% to 7,850 yen ($67.80), while Sony Corp. lost 1.8% to 6,040 yen ($52.16).
In New York on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the week 1.9% higher at 11,347.45 - its highest level in more than six years.IFAonline
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Square Mile’s series of informal interviews
Fine reduced to £60,000
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