By Johann M Cherian and Sruthi Shankar
(Reuters) -Britain's FTSE 100 closed at a fresh five-week high on Monday as a fall in sterling lifted dollar-earners such as AstraZeneca and Unilever, while shares in EasyJet rallied on speculation of a takeover by British Airways owner IAG.
The blue-chip index rose 0.7% to close at its strongest level since Sept. 23 and marked its first monthly rise in three.
Global companies such as AstraZeneca, Unilever and BP, which draw large parts of their revenue overseas, rose nearly 2% as sterling slid. [GBP/]
Investors will look to the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve for any signs of easing in their aggressive monetary policy tightening cycles, with each expected to hike rates by 75 basis points this week.
"It all adds up to an increasingly difficult tightrope for monetary policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic to walk, as they look to bring inflation under control without doing too much economic damage in the process," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said.
UK markets have recouped some of the sharp losses made earlier in October when former Prime Minister Liz Truss's economic plan sent borrowing costs sharply higher and triggered political turmoil.
Truss was replaced by former finance minister Rishi Sunak who reversed almost all of her plans and brought a measure of relief to the UK's financial markets.
The FTSE 250 index, most exposed to the domestic economy, edged down 0.2% on Monday but marked monthly gains of 4.2%.
The banking sector gained 1.3% after a Sunday Times report said more windfall taxes in the UK were unlikely.
Easyjet jumped 6.1% after a Times report said that International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) is to renew its EU consolidation plans, fuelling speculation that Easyjet could be a takeover target. IAG rose 5.4%.
Centrica Plc rose 4.7% after brokerage Jefferies upgraded the stock to "buy" and raised its price target, citing strong fundamentals.
(Reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Shailesh Kuber and Andrew Heavens)