Top shares rose on Monday, led by miners, as investors' attention shifted from the euro zone debt crisis towards economic data from China.
Mining stocks <.FTNMX1770> tracked metals prices higher as markets eyed a batch of Chinese data on Tuesday, including GDP and industrial production, for further clues on the outlook for demand.
There's a perception that maybe the Chinese will ease monetary policy at some point this week to try and prevent a hard landing, so I think that's giving a slightly more positive bias to metals prices, Michael Hewson, market analyst at CMC Markets, said.
Friday's downgrades from the Standard & Poor's credit agency, which included stripping France and Austria of their triple-A ratings, came as talks between Athens and private creditors on a debt swap deal -- seen as crucial to avoiding a messy Greek default -- broke down.
The news had trailed a positive start to the year, with Spain and Italy drawing solid demand at their debt auctions last week, dousing worries about a regional credit freeze.
I don't think you should be totally negative about what we saw from the euro zone, Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays Wealth, said.
If you take demand and yields as a sign of confidence that European officials can solve the debt crisis, there were some positives to hang on to.
The UK benchmark <.FTSE> closed up 20.80 points, or 0.4 percent, at 5,657.44, in thin, choppy trade, with U.S. equity markets closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday.
Trading volume on the FTSE 100 was 76 percent of its 90-day daily average.
Analysts said the cruise ship industry has a tough job to restore confidence among customers shocked by images of the wreck of the Costa Concordia, but that the effects of the accident over time will be minimal.
Obviously tragic, it will have a short-term impact on yields, but I don't think customers are going to stop travelling on cruise ships because of one accident in 100 years, an analyst, who declined to be named, said.
Carnival saw robust trading volume, at more than nine times its 90-day daily average.
Negative broker sentiment also hit Capita
(Additional reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by David Hulmes)