The FTSE 100 index pushed higher in early deals on Friday, supported by modest gains in banks and miners, with investors looking ahead to a key International Monetary Fund meeting this weekend.
The IMF's bid to win a big boost in funding to handle the euro zone debt crisis has hit a speed bump as Brazil has demanded more power at the IMF for emerging economies as a condition for lending it extra cash.
Earlier this week, the IMF issued a fairly upbeat world economic outlook, while acknowledging that uncertainties remain for global growth from the impact of the euro zone debt crisis, so investors will seek any further comments from the group's semi-annual meetings in Washington.
At 0810 GMT, the FTSE 100 index <.FTSE> was up 14.33 points, or 0.3 percent at 5,758.88, having essentially ended flat on Thursday, with the blue chips set for a weekly gain of around 1.8 percent after a choppy week.
Volume was around 11 percent of the 90-day daily average, with options expiries later in the session expected to inflate this slightly but not have a big overall impact, traders said.
Markets remain fairly moribund as investors weigh up the two dilemmas of global growth and euro zone debt concerns, with most just happy to stick near the sidelines ahead of the weekend, said Mike Mason, a trader at Sucden Financial.
Banks <.FTNMX8350> provided the main strength for the blue chips, rallying after falls in the previous session as sentiment on the impact of the sector to euro zone debt uncertainties continued to ebb and flow
Lloyds Banking Group
It's hardly a ringing endorsement, but we are starting to take comfort from the fact that not only is Lloyds increasingly adopting a warts and all approach to disclosure, much of the sellside froth has come out of near-term consensus expectations too, Investec said in a note
Return-on-equity recovery will be painfully slow, but (whisper it quietly) the worst looks to be behind us now.
Miners <.FTNMX170> also found some support as copper prices traded slightly above $8,000 a tonne on Friday, hovering near its previous close, as investors waited for more decisive cues on demands such as whether China loosens monetary policy and the health of the euro zone.
Weakness in integrated oils <.FTNMX0530> was the biggest drag on the blue chips as Brent crude stagnated around $118 per barrel, with prices headed for their steepest weekly drop in more than three months.
Among individual blue chip fallers, chip designer ARM Holdings
Mobile phones operator Vodafone
C&W Worldwide shares shed 3.1 percent, with the FTSE 250 <.FTMC> index down 0.1 percent.
Mid cap SuperGroup
British retail sales numbers for March will be released at 0830 GMT, with a monthly rise of 0.5 percent forecast, after a 0.8 percent fall in February, giving annualised growth of 1.4 percent, up from 1.0 percent in the previous month.