The FTSE 100 edged up this morning as new data showed that the decline in UK manufacturing slowed in June.
The manufacturing PMI – a respected survey of the sector – stood at at 48.6, up from 45.9 in May and well ahead of the consensus forecast of 46.5.
New orders also rose strongly to stand at 47.0 versus 42.0 in May.
But weaker manufacturing data out of China provided more evidence that global growth is stuttering.
Meanwhile some economists were also questioning whether the Eurozone was back on track despite its leaders lauding a new mechanism to allow banks to be recapitalised more efficiently.
On London’s blue chip index Asia focused bank Standard Chartered was 2.2 per cent in early trading, making it the highest climber. Also in the sector Lloyds edged up 0.7 per cent.
Barclays was up one per cent after the bank’s chairman Marcus Agius resigned over the bank’s £290m fine for manipulating interest rates.
However RBS – still struggling to recover from a computer meltdown which affected thousands of NatWest customers – was off by more than two per cent.
Other risers included luxury retailer Burberry which was off by 1.5 per cent and advertising giant WPP, which advanced by 1.3 per cent.
Insurer Aviva, which is expected to announce a major shake-up of the business later in the week, was also a top climber after nudging up by 1.2 per cent.
Among the biggest fallers on the blue chip index were miner Xstrata and commodities giant Glencore which are still locked in negotiations over a merger.
Xstrata was the biggest faller on the index with a 2.3 per cent fall. Glencore was off by 1.3 per cent.
Steelmaker Evraz, down 1.1 per cent, was another loser while pharmaceutical company Shire dipped by 1.9 per cent.
In Asia investors were eyeing new data showing China’s manufacturing activity grew at its slowest rate in seven months in June.
Its official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 50.2 from 50.4 in May. That still denotes growth, but at a slowing rate.
In Asian markets the Nikkei closed flat and the Hang Seng up 2.1 per cent.