Britain's top share index was up 0.3 percent early on Monday, as gains in commodity stocks outweighed slight weakness in defensives like pharmaceutical and tobacco stocks.

By 0912 GMT, Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 16.66 points at 5,061.21 having fallen 1.8 percent on Friday, notching up its largest weekly fall, at 3.8 percent, since March.

Commodity stocks were the biggest positive among UK large-caps, supported as copper MCU3=LX and crude prices CLc1 rose slightly helped by data from major commodities consumer, China.

HSBC's China Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to an 18-month high in October of 55.4 from 55.0 in September, pointing to sustained strength in the country's fast-growing manufacturing sector. 

Rio Tinto (RIO.L), Xstrata (XTA.L), Lonmin (LMI.L), Anglo American (AAL.L), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L) and Fresnillo (FRES.L) gained 1.2 to 3.4 percent.

Gold miner Randgold Resources (RRS.L) was the top FTSE 100 riser, up 2.7 percent after it agreed with AngloGold Ashanti to buy an additional 20 percent in the Moto gold project in the Democratic Republic of Congo for about $113.6 million.

Among the energy majors, BG Group (BG.L), BP (BP.L) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) added 0.4 to 1.4 percent.

Today the market is trying to shake off that fall on Friday, but it will be a difficult week to navigate as investors are awaiting a batch of corporate data and a decision from the Bank of England later in the week, said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Landsdown.

Investors focused on the latest Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting, decisions from which are due on Thursday, with no change to UK interest rates expected but an increase in the bank's quantitative easing policy anticipated.


Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) was the heaviest blue-chip faller, down 5.4 percent after the part-nationalised lender said talks with the European Commission will include some divestments not initially contemplated.

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L), also part-owned by the government, fell 1.2 percent as investors await developments.

Other banks were mixed. Barclays (BARC.L) fell 0.3 percent but heavyweight HSBC (HSBA.L) added 0.6 percent, while Standard Chartered (STAN.L) gained 1 percent.

Defensive stocks such as pharmaceuticals and tobacco, which tend to underperform as the market rises, were the biggest weight on the index.

AstraZeneca (AZN.L), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) and Shire (SHP.L) fell 0.7-1 percent, while British American Tobacco (BATS.L) lost 0.3 percent following results last week.

There will be a raft of major companies reporting third-quarter results this week including iconic retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L), hedge fund operator Man Group (EMG.L) and British Airways (BAY.L).

Data released overnight showed British house prices fell at their slowest annual rate since June 2008 in October, dropping 4.2 percent, due to an ongoing lack of housing for sale after the credit crunch, property data company Hometrack said. 

October's CIPS manufacturing PMI report is due out at 0928 GMT, with a reading of 50.0 forecast, up from 49.5 in September.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ISM report for October, plus September pending homes sales and construction spending numbers should attract attention in the afternoon.

The UK benchmark index fell 1.7 percent overall in October, the first monthly drop since June but is still up about 46 percent since its March low.