The FTSE 100 climbed this morning as commodities giant Glencore made its debut, helping to buoy European markets.
But an announcement that IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was standing down over assault charges in the US was the talk of the markets as the hunt for a successor starts.
The re-building of the eurozone's finances was being led by Strauss-Kahn and investors and analysts are watching closely to see who is given the pivotal role.
Meanwhile UK retail sales last month were 1.1 per cent higher than March, according to official figures.
That is the biggest rise in retail sales for April since 2002 and has been attributed to a boost from the warm weather, royal wedding and a series of bank holidays.
The figures follow a fall in the jobless figure although separate data suggested consumer confidence was still at a low ebb.
In early conditional trading Glencore put on three per cent after opening at a price of 530p.
It is due to start full trading on the FTSE on Tuesday and is also listing in Hong Kong.
Asset manager Investec was the highest climber on the blue chip index in early trading, up 3.27 per cent, despite reporting a fall in annual profit.
ITV was up three per cent after previously losing ground due to warnings over falling advertising revenue.
The National Grid gained 1.9 per cent after reporting a jump in profit and dividend hike. Petrofac was up three per cent, while investment buyout vehicle Resolution was also a top gainer.
On the downside materials testing company Intertek, which reported a revenue rise, fell by three per cent - the biggest drop on the FTSE 100 in early trading.
Software company Invensys was down by just over two per cent despite this morning reporting an above forecast rise in operating profit.
Autonomy, also in the tech sector, was one of the five biggest losers along with luxury retailer Burberry. Pharmaceutical company Shire dropped around 0.5 per cent having announced a £460m acquisition in the US.
Investors will also eye the latest US weekly jobless claims later today, with an increase of 420,000 forecast, after a 434,000 rise in the previous week.