StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks got off to a positive start to the week after banking heavyweight HSBC unveiled a solid third-quarter earnings result.

At 0824, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 22.19 points, or 0.3%, at 7,226.74.

HSBC firmed 0.6% to 437.25p, having booked a hefty rise in third-quarter profit and unveiled a $2 billion share buyback.

HSBC said its pre-tax profit for the three months through September had jumped 74% year-on-year to $5.4 billion, as credit quality improves following an easing of lockdowns.

Online contracts-for-difference broker Plus500 rose 2.7% to £14.31 after it again upgraded its annual guidance, even as its earnings slipped 2% in the third quarter.

Plus500 said it expected full-year operating earnings and revenue to be 'ahead' of current analysts' consensus forecasts.

Pharmaceutical company Astrazeneca inched up 1p to £89.97 following the release of positive trial results for a treatment for biliary tract cancer, which are rare and aggressive cancers of the bile ducts and gallbladder.

The trial had demonstrated an improvement in overall survival in patients treated with Imfinzi plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone, Astrazenaca said.

Insurance group Prudential advanced 0.8% to £14.68 amid news that it had appointed advisors to canvass interest in a bond issue.

A benchmark US-dollar-denominated transaction was being planned, subject to market conditions, Prudential said.

Precious metals miner Petropavlovsk shed 0.6% to 24.94p after it reported a 2% fall in third-quarter production, but stuck to its output guidance for the full year.

Production in the three months through September decreased to 111,600 ounces, down from 114,000 year-on-year, due to lower gold production from third-party concentrates, Petropavlovsk said.

Oil company Tullow Oil gained 3.0% to 50.3p on announcing that it had appointed Phuthuma Nhleko as its incoming chairman, to succeed Dorothy Thompson.

Nhleko was a former chief executive and chairman of pan-African telecommunications company MTN and also had been a non-executive director at BP and Anglo-American.

Cocktail-bar owner Nightcap jumped 7.7% to 17.77p after it opened new bars in Bristol, Reading and central London ahead of schedule and said trading continued to be ahead of its expectations.

Biotechnology group Allergy Therapeutics rallied 10% to 37p after it announced positive trial results for a potential treatment for grass pollen allergies. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com