UK stocks : FTSE 100 up 0.3 pct
Fund management group Schroders was the top blue chip performer, gaining 3.5 percent as BofA Merrill Lynch upgraded its rating for the firm to "buy" from "neutral".
"We have liked Schroders as a business for some time, but now believe that the combination of strong positioning and a supportive backdrop outweighs the disadvantage of an over-padded balance sheet," BofA ML said in a note.
Fellow financial services group Hargreaves Lansdown, however, was the biggest FTSE 100 faller, shedding 2.4 percent, with traders citing some uncertainties for the sector ahead of Wednesday's half-yearly budget update from finance minister George Osborne.
Osborne faces the tough choice of either announcing more spending cuts or delaying his debt target.
British media reported on Sunday he was poised to announce plans to cap the pension benefits of high earners, alongside a reining in of the welfare budget, which could impact financial services groups.
"It's going to be a relatively dour message from Osborne ... It'll be a reminder of the tough conditions for Britain as the austerity measures bite. For that reason we would favour being exposed to U.S. markets, and high-beta Europeans rather that the UK for the time being," Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays Wealth said.
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