The FTSE 100 jumped one per cent on Tuesday after a better-than-expected reading of German confidence and increased M&A activity in the US.
The ZEW Institute's index, which measures economic sentiment in the Eurozone's largest economy, surged to 48.2 in February, ahead of last month's reading of 31.5 surpassing forecasts of a reading of 35 .
"On a fairly quiet subdued volume day Europe's markets have been given a timely lift from the latest German ZEW data for February which came in at a three-year high as German investors continued to become more confident about the likelihood of a bounce back in the German economy in Q1," said senior market analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets.
After a tentative start, London's benchmark Footsie index surged following the data, rising 0.96% to 6,379.
"Since breaking through the 6,200 level towards the end of January, the FTSE 100 has been trading in a 200-point range for three weeks. Following Germany's very strong ZEW survey it would be surprising if the recent gains seen quickly disappear," said financial sales trader Max Cohen from Spreadex.
Meanwhile, stocks were boosted after the opening bell in New York as it was reported that Office Depot and OfficeMax could announce plans for a merger this week.
Increased optimism over M&A activity has been seen over the last few days after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and private equity firm 3G launched a $28bn takeover offer for food products giant Heinz.
The UK's yield curve - measured by the difference between the yields paid by 2 year Gilts and those with a maturity of 10 years - reached an 11 month high of 190 basis points at one point in the session, just as Sterling moved down towards levels not seen since the last Summer.
FTSE 100: TUI Travel, Rolls-Royce lead the risers
Travel and leisure group TUI Travel was a high riser as technical analysts were cited as saying that the stock is in a bullish "uptrend" and supported by moving averages.
Meanwhile, power systems giant Rolls-Royce was boosted after Exane BNP shifted its target price from 1,060p to 1,075p and maintained an 'outperform' rating.
Emerging markets lender Standard Chartered was performing well after Morgan Stanley raised its rating for the stock from 'equal weight' to 'overweight'. The shares
were trading near their highest levels since January 2011.
However, HSBC was under the weather after the same broker changed its recommendation in the opposite direction, saying the shares are "fairly valued on lower revenue growth expectations".
"We are switching our preference from HSBC to STAN, due to the improvement in the Asian economic environment - a positive for STAN's asset quality outlook - as well as valuations reaching par," Morgan Stanley said.
Mobile-phone network operator Vodafone was hit by a downgrade by Bernstein, which cut its rating from 'market perform' to 'underperform'. The broker said that "Vodafone's European operations are in structural decline" and could shrink by 23% in the next three years.
Supermarket firm Morrisons was also lower after JPMorgan Cazenove recommended investors to "avoid the shares", initiating coverage with an 'underweight' rating.
Financial services giant Old Mutual was on the up after the Financial Times reported that the company is considering undertaking a partial flotation of its US asset management business.
Holiday Inn owner InterContinental Hotels was among the worst performers after saying that revenue per available room (RevPAR) had fallen 5.2% in 2012. Nevertheless, strong growth in the US and cost cuts helped to produce a 10% increase in operating profits.
Airline group IAG was flying higher on reports that it will not increase its initial €7.0-a-share offer for Spanish low-cost operator Vueling.
FTSE 250: Fidessa boosted by Credit Suisse rating
Fidessa shares soared after Credit Suisse increased its target price from 1,782p to 2,213p and retained an 'outperform' rating, calling the trading systems developer "one of the best quality assets in the sector".
In spite of Drax's EBITDA falling 10.6% to £298.4m in 2012, the coal power station group was making gains after the result came in ahead of the company's own guidance range (£285-290m) and the consensus forecast (£292.5m).
High Street betting shop Ladbrokes rose after Investec raised its recommendation from 'hold' to 'buy', citing a "promising outlook".
FTSE 100 - Risers
TUI Travel (TT.) 329.70p +4.14%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,043.00p +3.88%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 437.00p +2.99%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 136.30p +2.95%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 714.00p +2.81%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 230.00p +2.59%
Aviva (AV.) 369.20p +2.56%
G4S (GFS) 290.60p +2.54%
Standard Life (SL.) 345.20p +2.46%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,771.00p +2.40%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 163.50p -1.98%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,953.00p -1.81%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 260.80p -1.17%
Intu Properties (INTU) 358.10p -0.61%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 388.00p -0.59%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,613.00p -0.31%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 724.00p -0.28%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,095.00p -0.27%
Hammerson (HMSO) 503.00p -0.20%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 332.30p -0.15%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Drax Group (DRX) 641.50p +6.12%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,970.00p +6.03%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 120.60p +5.33%
Carillion (CLLN) 318.80p +4.46%
Elementis (ELM) 234.80p +4.22%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 230.30p +4.11%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 342.90p +3.81%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 307.50p +3.54%
Booker Group (BOK) 115.00p +3.51%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 503.00p +3.31%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
IP Group (IPO) 128.50p -2.13%
Ted Baker (TED) 1,175.00p -2.08%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 58.05p -2.03%
Devro (DVO) 363.00p -1.94%
Perform Group (PER) 404.00p -1.46%
Rank Group (RNK) 165.00p -1.43%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 127.20p -1.40%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,850.00p -1.39%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 279.50p -1.24%
Carpetright (CPR) 677.00p -1.17%