END-OF-DAY REPORT: Headline shares ended the day firmly higher after a bumpy start to the session, with sentiment lifted by a slight improvement in confidence in Europe and with fund managers shining.
At the close of business, the FTSE100 was 39.19 points higher at 5,634.74 with the FTSE250 ahead 97.84 points at 11,234 and the FTSE Smallcaps up 8.82 points at 3,078.47.
US stocks rallied strongly in late morning trade, with sentiment getting a boost from yesterday's after-hours news from Alcoa.
Heading into the close in London, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 90 points at 12,806, the S&P500 rose 12 points at 1,371 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 34 points at 3,025.
Markets in London defied futures predictions to trade firmly higher after a surprise first-quarter profit reported by US aluminium giant Alcoa after the bell in New York helped lift the miners. A welcome increase in UK retail sales in March also raised spirits.
Banking issues rose as investors shrugged off continuing Eurozone concerns, with Barclays pick of the crop, rallying 5.8p at 212.1p, helped by an upgrade from Investec. Lloyds improved 0.79p at 30.59p and Royal Bank of Scotland added 0.54p at 25.26p.
Fund managers also rallied well, with Hargreaves Lansdown topping the leaderboard, up 16.9p at 463.7p. Ashdown added 11p at 386p and Schroders rose 16p at 1,440p. Man Group ticked up 2.1p at 115.7p, despite reports that Moody's has placed the hedge fund manager on review for a possible downgrade.
Security outfit G4S was a major gainer, up 7p at 280.1p after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock from equal-weight to overweight and hiked its target price from 280p to 325p.
Miners improved in line with base metals prices. Antofagasta gained 38p at 1,110p, Anglo American added 23.5p at 2,225p and Rio Tinto advanced 30.5p at 3,336.5p.
BHP Billiton rose 24p at 1,855.5p after news it has approved $708m for its share of pre-commitment funding for the Mad Dog phase 2 project in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. BP, the major player in the deal, edged down 1.1p at 444.25p.
The better-than-expected March retail sales data gave some of the retailers a boost, with Tesco adding 3.75p at 319p, Marks & Spencer up 5.7p at 369.1p and fashion house Next 13p better at 2,950p.
On the downside with blue chips, a downgrade for BSkyB to underperform from neutral from Bank of America Merrill Lynch sent the shares down 5p at 649p. The target price on the satellite broadcaster was slashed to 640p from 750p.
JP Morgan Cazenove downgraded BT Group from overweight to neutral, pushing the shares to the foot of the blue chip league, 5.4p lower at 213.2p.
SharePrice.com will do their best to ensure the quality of the information displayed on this site, but all information is provided as-is. We cannot be held responsible for any loss, material or otherwise, due to incorrect information found here. All share prices are provided by the London Stock Exchange, and are at least 15 minutes delayed.