Strong Christmas sales at Tesco helped keep the FTSE in the black with a slight rise of 0.02% to 5,539.38 in early trading.
The UK's biggest retailer celebrated its strongest festive performance for three years, prompting a rise in its share price of 2.05% to 426.40p.
Property company Land Securities has been added to the conviction buy list of broker Goldman Sachs, helping its share price rise 1.24% to 691.50p. Pharmaceuticals giant Smith & Nephew also saw strong gains, rising by 1.33% to 650p.
Meanwhile, money broker ICAP fell 2.20% to 441p on the same day as its founder, Conservative party treasurer Michael Spencer, sold £45m of his shares in the business through HSBC. Cash strapped plumbers merchant Wolseley dropped 1.12% to 1410p following its decision to sell Wolseley Ireland Holdings for £24m - a loss of £50m.
The resignation of Segro's head of Continental Europe, Inès Reinman, from the industrial property group barely a year since she was promoted to the board, resulted in a fall of 1.08% to 346.90.
In the US, the Dow Jones closed up 0.43% to 10663.99 as investors looked ahead to the end-of-year reporting season.
Japan's Nikkei index remained at 15-month high levels, with hopes of an improving global economy resulting in rises of 0.75% to 10879.14. Resource and machinery shares rose after China reported record imports of some commodities and stronger-than-expected exports.
2019 Survey opens in June
'Necessary steps' taken
Penalty payments and enforcement policy
Fees as low as 0.04%
Client procurement costs ‘unsustainable’