The top share index just managed to stay in positive territory Monday, a sign that investors are willing to believe for now that Greece and Italy's new governments can implement reforms needed to save Europe from meltdown.
For the time being, the market is willing to back these changes but action not just political rhetoric will be pivotal to these markets extending gains, a London-based trader said.
The FTSE 100's top performer was ITV
Its shares rose 3.9 percent after the company said it expected to outperform the wider television advertising market in 2011 after reporting better than expected trading in the third quarter.
(The) update contains enough for the bulls, whilst allowing the bears a little nibble too, broker Panmure said.
The UK's benchmark index <.FTSE> gained 1.90 points to 5,547.28 by 0928 GMT, cautiously moving higher having closed up 1.8 percent Friday.
From a technical standpoint, Guardian Stockbrokers said the upside for the FTSE 100 looked limited, with important resistance seen at 5,616 but strong support continued to be seen near the 5,340 level.
Miners <.FTNMX1770> and integrated oils <.FTNMX0530> also crept higher as investors tentatively bought into recently beaten down stocks.
Oil and gas firm BG Group
Over the weekend, Italy's president appointed former European Commissioner Mario Monti to head a new government charged with implementing urgent reforms to end a crisis that has endangered the whole euro zone.
Greece's new prime minister, Lucas Papademos, Wednesday faces a must win vote of confidence in his cabinet before meeting euro zone finance ministers in Brussels Thursday, state television reported, where he will be expected to outline next year's draft budget before putting it to parliament.
Traders said all eyes will be on the bond markets, where an Italian 5-year government bond auction Monday will be seen as an initial judgement on Monti's leadership.
Italian bond yields have cooled from over 7 percent, a level seen as unsustainable in the long term given the size of the countries debts.
French and Spanish bond yields will also be closely watched as a barometer for potential contagion from Europe's debt problems.
There is no important macroeconomic data due out Monday in the UK or the U.S., but analysts said recent figures from the United States and softer monetary policy in Asia could help boost global growth.
It has been too easy to be transfixed by the Euro show. Better than expected US economic data and the opening of the door to easier policy in the emerging markets should be enough to move the economy forward on a global basis, Gerard Lane, analyst at Shore Capital, said.
Ian Scott analyst at Nomura said global equities could be mispriced for a slowing in global growth.
Scott Said prices suggested that a drop in consensus earnings per share of 10 percent was already in the price, while valuation multiples indicated a drop of closer to 30 percent.
To achieve either of these two declines, global economic growth would have to undershoot existing forecasts considerably. We suspect that as long as global GDP growth remains above 2 percent next year, EPS will not drop by enough to justify the current level of the market.