Mining shares helped the FTSE 100 jump more than 56.81 points (1.1%) to 5,411.33 in early trading after copper prices hit a five-week high following the earthquake in Chile.
Among mining companies, Kazakhmys shares climbed 4.2% to £13.96, Eurasian Natural Resources was up 2.43% to £10.51 and Antofagasta rose 2.15% to 902.50p.
Shares in Prudential were suspended as the insurance company confirmed it was in advanced talks to buy AIA, the Asian arm of US firm AIG.
The news hit the rest of the insurance market badly, with Aviva down 1.43% to 384.70p and Legal & General Group falling 0.78% to 76.55p, while Resolution, which has denied rumours it intends to acquire Prudential's UK life assurance business, dropping 0.28% to 72.05p.
In Japan, the Nikkei index gained 46.03 points (0.5%) to 10,172.06 on Monday, again boosted by strong gains in copper prices.
Carmaker Toyota fell 1.1% as the recall crisis continues. The CEO will visit China this week.
In the US the Dow Jones ended the week with a 0.4% gain to 10,325.26 points after the economy grew by more than expected in the fourth quarter.
The news was largely viewed as a blip, however, with lower housing sales not helping the mood.
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