Heavyweight energy stocks helped haul top share index higher in early trade on Monday, although lingering concerns over global growth and technical factors limited equities' overall gains.

Among integrated oils <.FTNMX0530>, BG Group was a strong performer, up 1.0 percent, as the firm unveiled its fourth Tanzanian gas discovery from the Jodari-1 exploration well, with indications of gross recoverable resources in the range of 2.5 to 4.4 trillion cubic feet.

BP also found support, ahead 0.7 percent. The oil major, which on Thursday got a green light to drill a deepwater well off the Shetland Islands, has put North Sea oil assets worth close to 2 billion pounds up for sale, the Sunday Times reported.

Weakness in miners <.FTNMX1770>, however, countered gains in energy stocks, with the sector giving back some of Friday's late rally as concerns lingered over a possible slowdown in global growth, particularly from top metals consumer China.

(Recent) data from China will probably continue to be digested by investors and, being weighed up against improving conditions in the U.S., this could potentially cause a temporary range-bound period until we receive further headline figures, said Jordan Lambert, a trader at Spreadex Ltd.

At 0809 a.m., the UK blue-chip index was up 18.73 points, or 0.3 percent, at 5,873.62, having added 0.2 percent on Friday to finish above its 50-day moving average, a key technical level.

Technical analysis for the FTSE 100 index, however, while bullish in the short term, was cautious overall.

The closing price reversal bottom does not mean the trend has turned back to up, but what it does often is trigger a two- to three-day rally equal to at least 50 percent of the last break, said James A. Hyerczyk, analyst at Autochartist.

Based on the short-term range of 5,989.10 to 5,801.70, traders should look for a possible rally back to 5,895.40 to 5,917.51 by next week Tuesday or Wednesday. Since the main trend is down, traders are likely to short again when this zone is reached, Hyerczyk added.


Aberdeen Asset Management was the top blue-chip gainer, up 2.9 percent, as the fund manager said in a trading update that its clients added 1.4 billion pounds of new money to its range of funds in the first two months of the year, as investors recovered their appetite for risk and returned to buying equity products.

Peel Hunt upgraded its rating for Aberdeen to buy from hold.

Banks <.FTNMX8350> were mixed as some initial gains faded, with part-state-owned lenders Lloyds Banking Group and Royal bank of Scotland shedding 0.9 percent and 0.6 percent respectively.

British banking venture NBNK is expected to launch a bid for 632 Lloyds branches in a move that could torpedo the Co-op's efforts to buy the assets and reopen the sale process, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday.

But peer Barclays added 1.4 percent, with traders citing the impact of a positive note from Morgan Stanley, raising estimates and its target price for the banks.

Broker comment also lifted insurer Prudential
, ahead 1.3 percent, as Credit Suisse increased its target price, while drinks group Diageo , up 1.5 percent, got a boost from a pair of target hikes by both ING and Bernstein.

(Editing by Erica Billingham)