StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Monday in what is set to be a pivotal week for British politics, as Boris Johnson faces potential attacks on his aggressive Brexit strategy and possibly his leadership from Tory rebels.

At 0854, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 41.66 points, or 0.6%, at 7.248.84.

The pound remained under pressure from the Brexit ructions, providing a translational benefit for companies with business offshore.

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca rose 2.1% to 7,474p after it reported positive trial results for separate cardiovascular and diabetes drugs.

Animal drugs supplier Dechra Pharmaceuticals firmed 0.8% to 3,023,96p as it booked a rise in adjusted profits, driven by higher sales in the US.

Woodford Patient Capital Trust advanced 1.9% to 41.88p on news that it had appointed experienced wealth management executive Jane Tufnell to its board.

Sylvania Platinum gained 2.5% to 44.07p on the back of a 53% rise in full-year profit, boosted by higher production of the precious metal despite a downgrade earlier in the year.

Communications and managed services provider Maintel dropped 6.8% to 410p, despite swinging to profit, as its sales slipped.

The company also announced the departure of chief executive Eddie Buxton at the end of December 'by mutual agreement'.

Antibiotics developer Motif Bio jumped 9.4% to 2.70p after lender Hercules Capital agreed to push back the company's next debt repayment to support its expansion strategy.

Fertilizer developer Emmerson added 2.9% to 3.6p as it completed drilling at the Khemisset potash project in Northern Morocco under budget and on schedule, paving the way for the release of updated mineral resource estimate.

Homewares manufacturer Portmeirion fell 1.5% to 862p after it announced that chief executive Lawrence Bryan had retired, but would stay on the board. He had been replaced as CEO by finance director Mike Raybould.

Kazakhstan-focused Caspian Sunrise shed 2.4% to 10.1p on announcing that it would issue new shares at discount to raise $7m to buy drilling equipment.

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