END-OF-DAY REPORT: Headline shares ended the day firmly higher, although off best levels, with the mining fraternity underpinning gains as metals prices revived, and with financial issues making progress.
At the close of business, the FTSE100 was up 26.42 points at 5,768.45 with the FTSE250 ahead 107.9 points at 11,538.88 and the FTSE Smallcaps 15.5 points better at 3,140.58.
US stocks moved higher in late morning trade, following reports of a surprise rise in consumer spending in February.
Approaching the close in London, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 52 points at 13,198, the S&P500 added 5 points at 1,408 and the Nasdaq Composite eased 4 points at 3,099.
Markets performed brightly on the final day of the quarter, as Eurozone finance ministers in Copenhagen agreed to temporarily boost rescue funds to prevent sovereign debt contagion. Meanwhile, investors largely ignored a surprise fall in UK consumer confidence in March.
A revival in metals prices helped the miners to healthy gains, with Antofagasta the best of them, up 30p at 1,152p. Rio Tinto jumped 70.5p at 3,446p on announcing it has become a member of the new China Beijing Metals Exchange (CBMX).
Elsewhere, Anglo American rose 40.5p at 2,337p and BHP Billiton improved 30p at 1,907.5p.
Airlines group IAG climbed 0.3p at 178.9p on reports the go-ahead for its acquisition of BMI is imminent.
Tate and Lyle ticked up 10p at 705p when the sweetener maker said trading in the final quarter of the year has been in line with expectations. The group also warned that year end debt will exceed forecasts.
Most banks made modest progress, with Barclays up 1.1p at 235.25p, Lloyds ahead 0.18p at 33.6p and HSBC 7.7p higher at 554.8p. Royal Bank of Scotland bucked the trend, down 0.19p at 27.64p.
Other notable gainers included industrial pump maker Weir Group, ahead 66p at 1,764p, and oil industry service group Petrofac, 83p higher at 1,740p and the day's table-topper.
The cigarette makers were out of favour, with BAT down 33p at 3,150.5p and Imperial Tobacco off 22p at 2,535p.
Mobile phone giant Vodafone was down 2.25p at 172.2p on concerns over a tax law change in India.
The biggest blue chip casualty was pharma group Shire, down 98p at 2,020p on disappointing clinical trial results for its Lialda drug.
Other high profile fallers included drinks giant Diageo, off 13p at 1,502.5p, FT publisher Pearson, down 5p at 1,165p, and global brewer SABMiller, 12.5p lower at 2,509.5p.
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