StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened stronger on Monday after the Chinese market was buoyed by pledges of government support and Moody's kept Italy's sovereign debt rating outlook stable at one notch above junk status.

At 0859, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 17.23 points, for 0.2% , at 7.067.03.

Ryanair gained 3.8% despite booking a 9% fall in first half-profit, owing to strike action, lower ticket pricing and higher fuel costs. The budget carrier also reiterated its full-year guidance.

Gulf-country private healthcare group NMC Health rose 2.8% after it upgraded its annual revenue and earnings guidance, following 'positive developments' in the second half.

AstraZeneca gained 0.1% after the pharmaceutical company and partner Merck said results from a trial for their ovarian cancer treatment showed a reduction of disease progression or death by 70%.

Renewable Infrastructure Group fell 0.6% as it confirmed it would hold a shareholder meeting next month to seek approval to issue more shares, to pay debt and help fund investment opportunities.

Petra Diamonds fell 2.3% despite growing its first-quarter revenue by 22%, as higher production volumes were offset lower diamond prices.

Replacement door and window supplier Safestyle UK jumped 15% on news it had forged a non-compete agreement with founder Mitu Misra.

Specialist bank PCF Group gained 7.9% after it announced it had grown annual lending volumes by 50%, while trading in line with its expectations for the full year. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com