Software firm Micro Focus (MCRO) topped the FTSE 100 leaderboard as traders took advantage of recent weakness in the stock. At close the index of leading UK shares was up 0.35% to 7,404.13 as negotiations between the EU and UK over Brexit continued. ITV (ITV) was also among the top blue-chip risers following Carolyn McCall's decision to leave budget airline EasyJet (EZJ) for the broadcaster. EasyJet was up 0.2% to £14.13, while ITV gained 1.1% to 180.3p. Stronger iron, copper and gold prices boosted the mining sector. Anglo American (AAL) and Antofagasta (ANTO) were among the risers, up 1.2% to £11.31 and 2.3% to 878p respectively. OVERSEAS MARKETS The US market opened flat as investors held fire ahead of a number of earnings releases from the likes of Microsoft, IBM and Johnson and Johnson this week. Strong economic data in China failed to lift Asian equities. Hong Kong and Japanese stock markets were flat this morning, while Shanghai's SSE Composite slumped 1.4% down to 3,176. FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS British Gas owner Centrica (CNA) and Stadtwerke Munchen agreed to combine Centrica's European oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) business with Bayerngas Norge to form a new joint venture and create a leading independent European E&P company. FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS In other corporate news, UDG Healthcare (UDG) acquired US-based healthcare communications business Cambridge BioMarketing for up to $35m. Shares in the firm were up 1.3% at 850p. It was good start to the week for Weir (WEIR) after the engineer said it expects to beat operating profit expectations thanks a recent strong recovery in its upstream North American markets. Shares in Weir surged 8.4% to £19.78. Troubled Carillion's (CLLN) recovery from recent share price weakness gathered momentum on Monday afternoon. The shares crashed following a profit warning last Monday that cost CEO Richard Howson his job. The support services company said its CEK joint venture with Eiffage and Kier (KIE) successfully bid for the C2 and C3 contracts. It also appointed accountancy firm EY to support a strategic review. The stock rose 18.4% to 66.5p. Elsewhere, infrastructure group Balfour Beatty (BBY) advanced 2.6% to 269.8p. Investors were excited by a notification of intent on the awarded two contracts related to the High Speed 2 rail project, worth £2.5bn overall. SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS KEFI Minerals (KEFI) reported the signing of a mandate letter and heads of terms for $135m of funding with Oryx Management to finance and operate on-site infrastructure at its Tulu Kapi gold project in Ethiopia. The stock catapulted 23.3% to 5.3p. Rapid growth in Image Scan's (IGE) order book is encouraging for the company. Image Scan said it expects to exceed full-year market expectations. The shares advanced 35.1% to 6.25p.
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