StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened stronger on Monday as a weaker US dollar helped boost mining and energy plays.

At 0856, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 29.98 points, or 0.4%, at 7.647.68.

Antofagasta, BHP Billiton and Shell posted gains of 2.8%, 2.2% and 0.6%, respectively.

BP, however, fell 0.3% following a Reuters report that the oil major was leading the race to buy BHP Billiton's US shale unit.

Struggling baby goods retailer Mothercare tumbled 9.1% after it launched a discounted £32.5m equity issue, while increasing its store closure forecast to 60, up from 50.

Southend Airport owner Stobart Group rose 2.8% after confirming that it had again dismissed ex-chief executive Andrew Tinkler, despite Tinker being elected by a majority of shareholders to re-join the board.

Gold miner Centamin shed 4.8% on the back of a 25% fall in second-quarter gold production, due to low grades of the metal at its mine in Egypt.

Pharmaceutical group N4 Pharma plunged 53% on news that early results from a clinical trail of a reformulation of erectile dysfunction treatment sildenafil had not met their objectives.

Gift voucher supplier Park Group climbed 2.1%, as it signed collaboration contracts with a raft of retailers including Topshop-owner Arcadia Group, Courtesy Shoes, Office Outlet and Fat Face.

Fund manager Milton Group rallied 5.3% on news it has boosted assets under management by 35% in the first half, having tripled net inflows.

Upstream oil and gas company Echo Energy gained 0.6% after announcing that it had encountered natural gas at a fourth well in Argentina.

Sirius Minerals said it had signed up Redcar Bulk Terminal to provide port and ship loading services for up to 10m tonnes per annum of potash. Its shares added 0.6%.

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