For a third day in a row, the FTSE 100 index rallied in afternoon trade on the back of strong economic figures from America, as investors temporarily shrugged off concerns about the automatic spending cuts which kick in later today.
US President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders this afternoon but parties failed to come to an agreement on how to replace the $85bn in across-the-board budget cuts known as the 'sequester'.
While the cuts would be gradual, it is thought that they will shave 0.5 percentage points off US gross domestic product growth this year.
Markets sunk into the red during the day after both Chinese and UK manufacturing data disappointed, causing mining stocks to sink on the resource-heavy FTSE 100.
However, stocks were given a boost late on after a series of economic figures Stateside beat expectations: the University of Michigan consumer confidence index and the Markit and ISM manufacturing purchasing managers' indices (PMIs) figures all beat consensus forecasts in February.
"The possibility that US growth may lead the global economy out of its slump has fed renewed optimism as indices re-establish themselves towards recent highs," said Senior Sales Trader Toby Morris from CMC Markets.
FTSE 100: Kazakhmys leads miners lower
Mining giants Kazakhmys, EVRAZ, Xstrata, Glencore and Rio Tinto were registering steep losses in afternoon trade after economic figures from China misses forecasts. The official Chinese manufacturing PMI increased for the fifth-straight month in February but investors were disappointed as rate of expansion unexpectedly slowed.
Kazakhmys, which yesterday announced that it would be slashing its dividend to reflect falling profits in 2012, was a heavy faller after Credit Suisse, Bank of America, JPMorgan and Exane BNP Paribas all cut their target prices for the stock. Credit Suisse said that Kazakhmys is "feeling the pinch", having minimal margin insulation from sharp cost increases which puts further pressure on cash flows.
Meanwhile, Glencore and Xstrata were also hit after saying that they would likely push back their merger deadline as they continue to await regulatory approval in China.
UK banking group Lloyds sank after reporting that while underlying profits soared in 2012, it was forced to take further provisions for Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) redress in the fourth quarter.
Leading the upside was insurance group Old Mutual after posting an 18% increase in annual profits in 2012, driven by a strong performance in Africa.
Outsourcing group Capita continued to be a high riser having said that it has acquired debt recovery specialists iQor Holdings UK and subsidiaries (iQor UK) for an enterprise value of 42m pounds.
Property developer Hammerson gained after hailing 2012 as a "transformational year" that saw 2.1% growth in like-for-like net rental income.
FTSE 250: William Hill and Hikma surge
High Street betting shop William Hill jumped after announcing that it is buying out its partner Playtech in the William Hill Online venture for £424m, funded by a fully underwritten rights issue of £375m. The company also met profit forecasts with 22% bottom-line growth in 2012.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals was also a high riser after confirming that it has received several unsolicited enquiries in its Injectables business and is now undertaking a review of strategic options for its future.
UK housebuilder Taylor Wimpey rose after reporting that its profits rocketed in 2012 after the company completed more homes for a higher selling price. Profit before tax soared 106.1% year-on-year to £185.3m as operating profit jumped 44.3% to £230.1m and revenues climbed 11.7% to £2.0bn.
Meanwhile, UBS said it is "waiting for more visibility" on key stock drivers at Man Group as it downgraded the asset manager from 'buy' to 'neutral' this morning, putting the share price firmly in the red.
Business publisher and events organiser UBM disappointed investors by posting a decline in adjusted operating profit margins for the year ended December 31st.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Old Mutual (OML) 211.40p +4.40%
Capita (CPI) 858.50p +4.25%
Experian (EXPN) 1,137.00p +3.93%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,411.00p +2.54%
Compass Group (CPG) 820.50p +2.50%
Hammerson (HMSO) 506.50p +2.45%
Standard Life (SL.) 361.00p +2.41%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,098.00p +2.33%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,508.00p +2.14%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,953.00p +2.04%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 590.00p -4.69%
Evraz (EVR) 261.50p -4.18%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 314.00p -3.06%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,127.00p -3.05%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,442.00p -2.80%
Glencore International (GLEN) 376.95p -2.72%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,513.00p -2.58%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 53.25p -2.24%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 757.00p -1.43%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 119.00p -1.41%
FTSE 250 - Risers
William Hill (WMH) 443.30p +9.54%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 936.50p +8.14%
KCOM Group (KCOM) 79.55p +4.05%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 533.00p +3.50%
F&C Asset Management (FCAM) 106.20p +3.41%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 83.65p +3.14%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 152.40p +2.90%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 931.00p +2.87%
Berendsen (BRSN) 702.00p +2.86%
BBA Aviation (BBA) 262.00p +2.62%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 249.40p -5.64%
Bumi (BUMI) 319.80p -4.85%
UBM (UBM) 738.00p -4.65%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 290.00p -3.91%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 373.70p -3.74%
Man Group (EMG) 96.55p -3.74%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 127.20p -3.20%
Supergroup (SGP) 613.50p -3.16%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 254.70p -3.08%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 34.01p -2.83%