- UK stocks opened stronger on Monday as doubts the UK and EU could forge a Brexit deal pummelled the pound, helping exporters.

At 0857, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 13.68 points, or 0.2%, at 7.119.02.

Booze merchant Diageo fell 0.2% after it announced it would sell 19 brands, including whisky Seagram's and liqueur Sambuca, to Sazerac. Proceeds of £340m would be returned to shareholders via a buyback.

Pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca gained 1.3% on news clinical trials indicated that its diabetes drug had significantly reduced the risk of hospitalisation for heart failure.

UK funeral group Dignity shed 4.0% as intense price competition sent its third-quarter operating profit down 39%.

Engineering services company Babcock International climbed 1.7% after it denied speculation concerning its financial health published by the 'so far untraceable Boatman Capital'.

Sirius Minerals fell 1.7% as it confirmed it was hunting for financing for its flagship fertilizer project in Yorkshire after it awarded a key construction contract to Strabag.

Online gambling software supplier Playtech added 1.1% as it stuck to its most recent full-year guidance, though trading in Asia remained subdued.

Restaurant Group fell 2.2% after it launched a discounted £315m share issue to help fund its acquisition of Wagamama.

Building services provider Northern Bear gained 2.4% as it posted a 23% rise in first-half profit, supported by a strong performance at its roofing and specialist services division.

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