- UK stocks opened modestly higher on Monday as geopolitical tensions in Hong Kong and the Middle East continued to weigh on sentiment, and as investors braced for a key US interest rate decision due later in the week.

At 0831, the FTSE 100 was up 10.38 points, or 0.1%, at 7.356.16.

Royal Bank of Scotland added 1.6% after it confirmed that it would collect £400m from a sell-down of its stake in Alawwal bank, triggered by the latter's merger with Saudi British Bank.

Construction company Kier shed 5.7% on announcing that it would suspend dividend payments, cut jobs and sell assets as part of turnaround programme to lower its debt.

Defence contractor Babcock International climbed 3.7% after it revealed that it had in January rejected a takeover approach from outsourcing group Serco, on the basis that it had no strategic merit.

AstraZeneca fell 0.4% despite a trial showing that its chronic lymphocytic leukaemia drug had significantly prolonged the time patients live without the disease.

Recruitment and training company Staffline slumped 23% after it said it would scrap its dividend and raise £37m from a share issue to cut debt, amid rising costs associated with an historical breach of UK wage rules.

Reabold Resources jumped 29% and Union Jack Oil jumped 38% after the pair reported that an appraisal well at the West Newton propsect in Humberside, UK had encountered a 65 meter oil interval.

Remote tracking technology company Starcom gained 3.1% on announcing that it was on track to grow it annual revenue and earnings in line with its expectations. Story provided by