UK equity markets charged higher on Tuesday, driven by comments from the US Federal Reserve, Services data, and a raft of upbeat company reports.
Janet Yellen, the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, said on Monday that she believed the Fed needs to continue with its monthly bond buying programme, while keeping track of potential cost risks.
Meanwhile, company results have been largely supportive, with positive statements coming from the likes of Regus, Ophir, Standard Chartered and Wood Group.
Adding to the gains, the Markit/CIPS service sector purchasing managers index for the month of February came in at the 51.8 point mark, slightly ahead of last month´s reading of 51.5 and expectations for a small slide to 51.3. The reading has eased concerns of a triple dip recession.
The FTSE was also boosted by the news that the Dow Jones index leapt to a record high, lifted by positive services data.
Of interest, it was today revealed that at least 25% of FTSE 100 groups have now attained the government's target of having at least a quarter of the board made up by female directors. However, the report from BoardWatch warned that as many as 19 out of every 20 full-time executive roles are still held by men.
The organisation also suggested that the movement towards equality in boardrooms "seems to have fizzled out".
"Turning to the potential costs of the Federal Reserve's asset purchases, there are some that definitely need to be monitored over time. At this stage, I do not see any that would cause me to advocate a curtailment of our purchase programme," the Vice Chair said.
Speaking at the National Association for Business Economics annual policy conference, she continued: "I view the balance of risks as still calling for a highly accommodative monetary policy to support a stronger recovery and more-rapid growth in employment.
"At this stage, there are some signs that investors are reaching for yield, but I do not now see pervasive evidence of trends such as rapid credit growth, a marked buildup in leverage or significant asset bubbles that would clearly threaten financial stability."
British outsourcing group Serco was a big riser after revealing that full year revenue rose 5.7% to £4.9bn, underpinned by a strong performance in international markets.
International energy services company Wood Group rose after it posted a 20% rise in revenue from continuing operations in its full year ended December 31st, boosted by growth in all three divisions.
Xstrata was a strong riser after its net income came in ahead of analyst expectations and despite the results being less-than-impressive.
Meggitt, the global engineering group, was also heading higher after it posted an upbeat set of results for 2012, with revenue and profit up, net debt lower, and a 12 per cent increase in the dividend.
Meawhile, defensive stocks, including Centrica and SSE, were sitting in the red, as a riskier appetite pushed the market higher.
Intu Properties was one of the day's weaker performers after Bank of America gave it a less-than-glowing report, although it did upgrade the company to neutral from sell.
Revenue rose 9.2% to £1.2bn at Regus in the year ended December 31st, prompting shares
to rise. The group, which provides flexible workplaces, reported that operating profit rose by 66% to £90.2m and total overheads increased 4.1% at constant currency.
Shares in Ophir Energy made strong gains on Tuesday, as the group reported a 100 per cent operational success rate for 2012.
Meanwhile, valve engineering group Rotork delivered a strong set of full year results on Tuesday, but shares dipped as the group warned on the likelihood of weakness within some regions as a result of the current economic conditions. Revenue for the 12 months came in at £511.7m, up 14.3% from £447.8m in 2011, giving a pre-tax profit of £124.2m, up 10.3% from £112.6m a year earlier.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Serco Group (SRP) 630.50p +8.89%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 818.00p +7.92%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,174.00p +6.78%
Glencore International (GLEN) 391.20p +5.74%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 340.50p +4.03%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,438.50p +3.69%
CRH (CRH) 1,514.00p +3.63%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,095.00p +3.50%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,107.50p +3.46%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 245.90p +3.41%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Intu Properties (INTU) 334.00p -1.50%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,267.00p -0.71%
SSE (SSE) 1,461.00p -0.54%
Centrica (CNA) 360.50p -0.25%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,090.00p -0.10%
Rexam (REX) 519.50p -0.10%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,566.00p +0.06%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 344.90p +0.06%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,522.00p +0.11%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,631.00p +0.18%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Regus (RGU) 149.80p +15.68%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 513.00p +11.11%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 280.00p +7.78%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 561.00p +6.96%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 53.25p +6.73%
Hunting (HTG) 905.00p +6.47%
Supergroup (SGP) 642.00p +5.59%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 215.20p +5.54%
Menzies(John) (MNZS) 785.00p +4.95%
Dialight (DIA) 1,310.00p +4.80%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 199.10p -2.02%
Anite (AIE) 154.00p -1.91%
Lancashire Holdings (LRE) 908.00p -1.89%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 126.30p -1.64%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 506.00p -1.56%
Bumi (BUMI) 307.80p -1.44%
Lonmin (LMI) 331.50p -1.43%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,382.00p -1.29%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,456.00p -1.26%
Devro (DVO) 348.50p -1.22%