UK stocks : FTSE up 0.2 pct
Global giant HSBC added the most points to the FTSE 100 index, with its 1.0 percent advance alone accounting for almost 5 index points and helping the UK banking sector to a 0.8 percent gain, with the lender highlighted as Goldman Sachs preferred UK banks pick in a sector review.
Goldman reiterated its "conviction buy" rating on HSBC on the basis of relative valuation, return trends and expectations.
The bank also repeated its "buy" rating on Barclays , the top percentage blue chip gainer, up 1.7 percent.
But Goldman downgraded its rating for Royal Bank of Scotland to "sell" as it believes the majority-state-owned lender is the most exposed to near-term regulatory risk.
RBS shares still gained 0.5 percent with the banking sector overall buoyed by Friday's news that banks will repay early 137 billion euros of crisis loans taken a a year ago from the European Central Bank, and which ECB President Mario Draghi has said "avoided a major, major credit crunch".
The bigger-than-expected repayment was seen as a sign that at least parts of the financial system are returning to health.
Other financial stocks also took heart from the move, with Aberdeen Asset Management rallying 1.6 percent, and insurer Standard Life up 1.2 percent.
The FTSE 100 index closed up 9.96 points, or 0.2 percent at
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