After rising for two straight weeks, U.K. stocks continued to advance on Monday, with resource firms driving the FTSE 100 index higher, while GlaxoSmithKline PLC dropped after disappointing test results.
The benchmark UK:UKX +0.41% rose 0.3% to 6,637.92, on track for a second straight day in positive territory. On the quarter, the FTSE was eyeing a 1.6% decline.
Mining firms helped lift the London index, as they rose alongside higher metals prices. Shares of Rio Tinto PLCUK:RIO +2.42% RIO +2.03% AU:RIO +0.49% gained 2.3%, Anglo American PLCUK:AAL +2.22% picked up 2.1%, Antofagasta PLC UK:ANTO +1.13% advanced 1.2% and BHP Billiton PLCUK:BLT +1.00% BHP +1.19% AU:BHP +1.11% rose 1.1%.
The sector also experienced reasonable gains last week, after weak data from China spurred speculation Beijing would launch fresh easing measures to boost the economy and avoid a sharp slowdown.
On Monday, energy firms also showed positive moves, with shares of BG Group PLC UK:BG +1.22% 1.2% higher and Royal Dutch Shell PLC UK:RDSB +0.69% RDS.B +1.51% rising 0.8%. Oil prices, however, moved slightly lower, but held above the $101-a-barrel level.
On a more downbeat note, shares of GlaxoSmithKline PLC UK:GSK -0.34% GSK -0.04% lost 0.8% after the drug maker released disappointing results from a late-stage study of Darapladib, a new heart disease drug.
In data news in the U.K., the Bank of England said the number of loan approvals for house purchases was a weaker-than-expected 70,309 in February, compared with an average of 69,563 over the previous six months.
Source: Market Watch