Britain’s top equity index moved higher on Monday, lifted by gains in AstraZeneca after the pharmaceutical group published a positive update on one of its anti-cancer drugs.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up by 0.6 per cent at 7,027.95 points in early trading, leaving it 1.3 per cent below a record high hit in late April. The FTSE is up around 7 per cent since the start of 2015.

AstraZeneca rose 2.7 per cent, making it the best-performing FTSE 100 stock, after the company presented positive data on its ‘AZD9291’ cancer treatment product.

Lloyds also edged up after Britain said it would launch a sale of shares in the bank to private retail investors in the next 12 months, and extended a facility enabling it to sell more shares to financial institutions.

Some traders maintained a cautious stance towards the FTSE given lingering uncertainty over Greece’s debt problems, though most investors expect Greece to remain within the euro zone.

Athens and its euro zone and International Monetary Fund (IMF) creditors have been locked in talks for months on a cash-for-reforms agreement. Athens faces a payment to the IMF on June 5 as well as the expiration of its bailout programme on June 30.

“It’s a very difficult market to call at the moment, but the FTSE should get support around the 7,000 point level,’’ said Thames Capital Markets’ trader Gerren O’Neill.

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