LONDON: British shares ended higher on Monday, helped by gains in heavyweight energy stocks, while investors awaited the government's decision on whether it would delay England's complete reopening from a third national lockdown.

The blue-chip index, which rose as much as 0.7% to 7,187 touching its highest level since February 2020, ended 0.2% up. Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell gained 1.9% and 2.7% respectively, tracking crude prices.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index advanced 0.1%.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce that the planned lifting of restrictions, which would see an end to limits on social contact, will be delayed following concern about the rapid rise of infections by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Health minister Matt Hancock will update parliament at around 1930 GMT after Johnson addresses the public at a news conference.

"The markets been aware that this (delay in reopening) is going to happen, and the reaction in the market is minimal," said Keith Temperton, equity sales trader at Forte Securities.

Travel-related stocks fell 1.4%, with International Consolidated Airlines, Compass Group, Just Eat and InterContinental Hotels Group among the top decliners.


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