Shares edged up on Monday, led by banking and pharmaceuticals stocks.

Weekend press reports that Bank of America is open to buying a European bank if the price is right, sent shares in The Royal Bank of Scotland, up 0.85 percent, HBOS up 1. percent, and Lloyds TSB, up 0.47 percent.

GlaxoSmithKline was up 0.92 percent, and AstraZeneca up by 0.66 percent.

A share placing in building and plumbing supplier Wolseley meant a 5.41 percent dip, with dealers putting the pricing on the placing at between 1,080 to 1,160 pence per share. UBS and ABN AMRO Hoare Govett are acting as joint book runners and joint brokers to the placing.

At 07:23 GMT (8:23 a.m. British time), the FTSE 100 Index was up 18.1points, or 0.31 percent, at 5,839.4 points as traders said continued economic concerns in the U.S. continued to overshadow the market slightly.

The outlook for the U.S. economy is doubtless going to continue to loom over equity markets world-wide so U.S. existing home sales data today and consumer confidence tomorrow will be closely watched although the fact oil prices have resumed their downward trend should at least offer some support to many stocks, said Matt Buckland, trader at CMC Markets.

Oil explorer Tullow Oil Place dropped 1.6 percent after the company said it had agreed to acquire Australian oil and gas company Hardman Resources Ltd in a deal worth A$1.47 billion (581 million pounds).

As U.S. oil prices fell to $60 a barrel, BP shares fell 0.52 percent, as the market was left unimpressed at news that the company had moved to restore output at Prudhoe Bay earlier than expected.

Internet gambling firm Leisure & Gaming fell by 20.22 percent, as the market reacted negatively to an eight percent decline in first half profit from the company, which also warned that second mhalf sports betting was weaker than expected.