The FTSE spent the morning up 90-100 or so points higher, after the Federal Reserve surprised with its decision to maintain its bond-buying strategy on the back of softer growth.
Meanwhile, data showed that UK retail sales growth suffered a slowdown in August following a particularly strong July.
Federal Reserve holds bond-buying at $85bn a month
Following its two-day policy meeting, the Fed announced it had decided to stick with its approach of buying $85bn of debt a month, but said it could still potentially scale back this sum by the end of the year.
In its report, the Fed said that while household spending and business fixed investment has advanced, and the housing sector has been strengthening, mortgage rates have risen further and fiscal policy is "restraining economic growth".
As such, and as a part of its goal "to foster maximum employment and price stability", it has "decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases".
UK August retail sales suffer in comparison to strong July
UK retail sales growth suffered a slowdown in August after July proved a particularly strong month.
Customers reined in their spending, particularly on food items, causing volumes to drop 0.9% month-on-month, falling short of expectations of a 0.4% rise. Food sales alone declined 2.7% month-on-month. Annually, the rate of growth slowed to 2.1%, versus forecasts for a gain of 3.3%.
OFT cracks down on pension schemes
Britain's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is cracking down on the pensions market with a slate of new reforms.
The watchdog said parts of the £275bn defined contribution pensions market were offering poor value for money for up to five million savers. The OFT and the Pensions Regulator will review smaller trust-based schemes which could be swindling members with low levels of trustee engagement or capability.
FTSE 100: Randgold Resources leads risers
The gold price
leapt on the Fed news, prompting Randgold Resources to leap into the top spot on the FTSE.
Regulatory price increases have allowed water and sewage group United Utilities to raise revenues and profits in the first half of the year. The company said it anticipated underlying operating profits would be moderately higher than the first half of last year in the six months to the end of September due to tight control of costs.
Land Securities, the UK's largest commercial property company, has agreed to purchase a further 36.5% stake in the X-Leisure Unit Trust, taking its total ownership to 95%. The total cash consideration of £104m represents a price per unit of 37.96p.
Lufthansa has chosen Rolls-Royce's Trent XWB engines to power 25 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, with the option for a further 30 aircraft. The deal, which is worth $1.5bn, takes the number of Trent XWBs ordered to over 1,400. It is due to enter service next year.
FTSE 250: African Barrick Gold appoints new CFO
African Barrick Gold has appointed a new Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Wray, who originally joined the company as Head of Corporate Development and Investor Relations in 2010. He will retain his existing responsibilities in addition to those of his new role. Jaco Maritz, who assumed the role of Acting Chief Financial Officer earlier this year, will revert to his original position of Vice President of Finance.
Food wholesaler Booker reported a strong set of interim results, as the warm summer weather boosted customer numbers, adding that the Makro turnaround is progressing well. Total sales in the 12 weeks to September 13th, including Makro, rose by 19.3% on the same period last year. Booker like-for-like (LFL) sales (excluding Makro) rose 3.5% with non-tobacco LFL sales climbing 6.9%.
Evraz has agreed to sell its subsidiary Evraz Vysokogorsky Iron Ore Mining and Processing Plant (VGOK) to NPRO URAL for $20m. The company has also agreed to provide of up to 400m Russian Rubles (RUB) to VGOK to normalise the working capital of the unit.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,821.00p +7.66%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 389.20p +5.96%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,057.00p +4.86%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,654.00p +4.85%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 899.00p +4.47%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,329.00p +4.36%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,577.00p +4.16%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 343.95p +3.85%
Prudential (PRU) 1,216.00p +3.75%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,598.00p +3.71%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 209.00p -1.11%
G4S (GFS) 250.20p -0.91%
Tesco (TSCO) 376.30p -0.53%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,882.00p -0.41%
Rexam (REX) 493.50p -0.40%
BT Group (BT.A) 342.50p -0.09%
Sage Group (SGE) 349.60p -0.09%
FTSE 250 - Risers
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 151.80p +11.78%
Polymetal International (POLY) 720.50p +10.17%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 412.40p +7.99%
Lonmin (LMI) 347.10p +5.09%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 216.10p +4.70%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 192.20p +4.68%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 420.00p +4.14%
JPMorgan Indian Inv Trust (JII) 329.70p +4.01%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 670.00p +3.88%
Premier Farnell (PFL) 237.40p +3.80%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Rank Group (RNK) 161.00p -2.66%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 116.90p -1.76%
Restaurant Group (RTN) 546.50p -1.44%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 2,137.00p -1.34%
Computacenter (CCC) 538.50p -1.19%
Galliford Try (GFRD) 1,055.00p -0.94%
F&C Commercial Property Trust Ltd. (FCPT) 116.90p -0.93%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,922.00p -0.91%
Xaar (XAR) 787.50p -0.82%
Perform Group (PER) 551.50p -0.81%