StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened flat on Monday as investors took pause after the previous week's strong gains and awaited the release this week of key economic data.

At 0859, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 1.44 points at 7,296.14.

Consumer goods distributor Reckitt Benckiser fell 2.9% after the market looked past some positive revenue guidance and focused on margin compression at its recently-acquired infant formula business.

AstraZeneca, meanwhile, said US regulators had approved a new treatment for lung cancer. Its shares gained 0.4%.

Dart Group flew 14% higher after the regional airline said it expected pr-tax profit to be 'materially' ahead of current market expectations.

McColl's Retail tumbled 9.6% after the convenience store and news agency chain said like-for-like sales had slumped at the start of 2018 owing to supply disruptions caused by the collapse of Palmer & Harvey.

Industrial instruments manufacturer Spectris Group added 3.0% as the market welcomed a rise in annual profit, buoyed by acquisitions and a recovery in US demand.

Petra Diamonds swung to a first-half loss after it was dogged by industrial action and wrote down the value of its assets in South Africa. The company, however, said revenue for 2018 was tracking in line with market expectations and its shares gained 2.0%.

Saga, a financial services group targeting the over 50s, said it had appointed Patrick O'Sullivan as its new chairman. Its shared gained 0.7%.

Software group Fidessa rallied 8.1% as it boosted adjusted earnings and dividends for the full year.

Tool supplier Grafton Group added 2.2% after it announcing it had acquired decorating and DIY Group Leyland SDM for £82.4m.

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