Banking stocks led strong gains on the London market yesterday as optimism surrounding the global economic outlook strengthened.
The FTSE 100 Index closed 109.1 points higher at 5,790.7, just shy of its recent six-month high of 5,800, after a raft of positive manufacturing data lifted sentiment.
Barclays rose 11.6p to 224.1p, Royal Bank of Scotland lifted 1.1p to 27.7p and Lloyds Banking Group was 1.6p higher at 32.2p.
The Footsie was also boosted by heavily-weighted BP climbing 2%, or 12.2p to £4.83.
Miner Xstrata improved 45p to 1119.5p and Weir Group, which makes pumps for the oil and gas sector, was up 67p at £20.22.
Financial trading firm ICAP jumped 7%, or 26p to £3.62 after indicating that profits for the year to March would be near the upper end of current City forecasts.
Imperial Tobacco shrugged off a 7% fall in volumes in the final quarter of 2011 after sales were hit by the turmoil in Syria and more declines in Spain amid the economic gloom. Its shares rose 33p to £23.03 after it reported 10% sales growth and said it was on track to meet full-year targets.
ARM Holdings was at the top of a shortened fallers’ board as investors indulged in some profit-taking following a strong run for the tech company’s shares.
The Cambridge-based group, which on Tuesday reported strong quarterly results, saw its shares slip 17p to 592.5p.
Outside the top flight, Home Retail Group lost earlier gains after it appointed John Walden, who has held senior positions at BestBuy and department store Sears, to revive the catalogue chain. Shares were down 1p to 106.4p.
Online grocer Ocado was up 10% after results on Tuesday showed it was close to breaking even in the year to November 27. Shares were 11.1p lower at £2.85.
Catalysts and precious metals firm Johnson Matthey also encouraged investors after it reported further good progress in its third quarter. Shares were £1.04 higher at £21.55, a rise of 3%.
Stuart Lamont, of investment manager and financial planning specialist Brewin Dolphin in Aberdeen, highlighted Aberdeen Asset Management up 4.65% to 249.65p among the Scottish firms.Premier Oil down 0.44% to 408.85p and Petrofac which gave up 0.34% to close at 1450p.