THE London markets closed higher as they were buoyed by strong performances by British grocers and the surge in Greene King's value.

The FTSE 100 closed 72.5 points higher at 7,189.65 at the end of trading on Monday.

Improving sentiment in Germany and borrowing changes in China also left traders in higher spirits.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: "Stock markets in Europe have rallied as the macroeconomic backdrop has improved a little.

"Last week, we saw that Germany's economy contracted, and now there is chatter the country will set aside €50 billion as a stimulus package.

"In a bid to combat their cooling economy, the People's Bank of China will bring in lending reforms to make it cheaper for companies to borrow, and that has helped the rally too."

The German Dax increased by 1.32%, and the French Cac rose by 1.34%.

The Dow Jones opened higher as tech companies cheered the Trump administration's move to allow Huawei another 90 days to keep buying from US suppliers.

Sterling was not helped by Boris Johnson's claim he is "confident" the EU will renegotiate the Irish backstop, as it lost its momentum from the end of last week.

The pound was 0.07% down at 1.213 versus the US dollar, and down 0.11% against the euro at 1.093.

In stocks, Greene King stole the headlines as it soared higher after announcing a deal had been agreed to sell the firm to Hong Kong business CKA Group.

The UK pub group and brewer agreed the deal to sell its entire business to the real estate group run by Hong Kong's richest family.

The Suffolk-based business is the UK's biggest pub owner, with roughly 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the country.

Shares in Greene King closed 287p higher at 850p.

Elsewhere, online grocer and delivery firm Ocado led the FTSE 100 as its stock was given a lift by analysts at JP Morgan, who raised their target price for the business.

Shares in Ocado were up 53p to 1,204p at the end of trading.

Sainsbury's saw its shares rise after the supermarket giant shrugged off reports that it is seeking to replace under-pressure boss Mike Coupe.

The grocer rebuffed claims that it has earmarked possible internal candidates to replace the chief executive.

Sainsbury's saw shares close up 5.8p at 188.35p.

Mitie Group closed higher after it announced a deal to sell its catering business to royal warrant holder CH&Co for as much as £85 million, in a move which will narrow the outsourcer's focus amid intense scrutiny on the industry.

The disposal includes the Gather & Gather and Creativevents brands across the UK.

Mitie shares were 2.6p higher at 161.6p at the close of trading.

The price of oil moved higher due to heightened tensions in the Middle East. The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil rose by 1.04% to $59.3.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 53p at 1,204p, Tui, up 30.6p at 777.4p, Glencore, up 8.55p at 232.95p, and DS Smith, up 11p at 324.8p.

The biggest fallers were Fresnillo, down 11.2p at 652p, Prudential, down 16.5p at 1,399p, Sage, down 3.4p at 695.6p, and Vodafone, down 0.52p at 150.32p.