StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Monday after renewed tensions in the Persian Gulf pushed up oil prices, boosting energy plays.

At 0851, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 2.84 points at 7.511.54.

BP and Shell rose 1.4% and 0.8%, respectively, after the Iranian government seized British tanker Stena Impero, apparently in retaliation for having one of its own tankers seized by UK forces several weeks ago.

Business-focused media company Ascential rose 2.8% on announcing that it had agreed to acquire an initial 35% interest in cybersecurity provider Avast's marketing analysis unit Jumpshot for $60.8m.

Ascential also assumed an option to take a controlling stake in Jumpshot. Avast shares rose 0.8%.

Challenger bank Metro Bank advanced 2.8% after it confirmed media speculation that it was in talks to sell a loan portfolio.

Premier Inn hotel chain owner Whitbread reversed 2.6% on announcing that it had completed a £2.5bn capital return funded by the sale of its Costa coffee business.

Recruitment company SThree gained 3.0% after it reported a 28% rise in first-half profit, as growth in its overseas businesses more than offset weakness in the UK.

Petra Diamonds fell 4.5% on the back of 6% slide in annual revenue hurt by lower gem prices. The company also forecast lower production volumes in the current financial year.

Workplace digital learning company Learning Technologies jumped 19% after it guided for full-year earnings 'materially ahead' of market expectations.

Professional services group Norman Broadbent shed 5.1% as it forecast only a small profit for the first half of 2019.

Bioplastics and radio frequency technology business Biome Technologies sank 12% on warning that it expected to post a 'modest' first-half loss, as sales fell and it invested in more staff.

Tiziana Life Sciences jumped 17% as it reported positive results from a clincial trail assessing the safety of a treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer.

Scientific instrument group Judges Scientific fell 3.4% amid a small contraction in its second-quarter orders.

Infection prevention product manufacturer Tristel fell 1.1%, despite announcing that it expected to post a rise in adjusted annual profit of at least 17%.

The company also announced that it had bought out the remaining 80% of an Italian unit from Michael Donaldson.

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