A better-than-expected reading of German confidence pushed stock markets firmly into positive territory by Tuesday lunchtime.
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 reding of 35 .
"This is just the latest in a long list of surveys out of the Eurozone which suggest 2013 is going to be the year when the region bottoms out and begins the move back towards recovery," market analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari said this morning. "It also all but confirms what the Bundesbank said yesterday that the German economy will not fall into recession in this quarter, despite contracting by 0.6% in the fourth quarter".
However, he added the caveat that markets should not get "too carried away" with the data.
"While these surveys are positive, we are yet to see any hard data to confirm that [the] worst is actually behind us. Once this starts to make its way out, I think we could see the start of the next phase of the equity rally, not to mention the euro's ascent back towards 1.40."
FTSE 100: StanChart makes gains after upgrade
Emerging markets lender Standard Chartered was performing well this morning after Morgan Stanley raised its rating for the stock from 'equal weight' to 'overweight'. The shares
were trading at 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.
Telecoms group Vodafone was also affected by broker commentary today, with shares lower after Berstein downgraded the stock from 'market perform' to 'underperform'.
Financial services giant Old Mutual was on the up after the Financial Times reported that the company is considering undertaking a part 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.
FTSE 250: Drax impresses after full-year beat
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".
Shares in European gaming group Rank were down slightly despite receiving the green light from the Competition Commission to acquire 19 casinos from Gala Coral Group.
Soft drinks group Britvic was higher after Nomura said that its US franchise story "appears to be delivering".
FTSE 100 - Risers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,775.50p +2.66%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 433.90p +2.26%
TUI Travel (TT.) 323.50p +2.18%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,023.00p +1.89%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 154.00p +1.72%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,845.00p +1.65%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 4,565.00p +1.63%
Old Mutual (OML) 200.00p +1.57%
GKN (GKN) 261.30p +1.55%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 705.00p +1.51%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 162.20p -2.76%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,957.00p -1.61%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 386.60p -0.95%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 330.00p -0.84%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 720.50p -0.76%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 792.00p -0.75%
BAE Systems (BA.) 325.50p -0.58%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,690.50p -0.55%
CRH (CRH) 1,383.00p -0.50%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 722.70p -0.45%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Drax Group (DRX) 631.00p +4.38%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 352.50p +3.80%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 229.00p +3.53%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,917.00p +3.18%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 131.80p +3.05%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 340.30p +3.03%
COLT Group SA (COLT) 117.90p +2.97%
Carillion (CLLN) 313.40p +2.69%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 438.80p +2.60%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 499.30p +2.55%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Bank of Georgia Holdings (BGEO) 1,352.00p -2.03%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 278.20p -1.70%
CSR (CSR) 378.90p -1.58%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 318.40p -1.45%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 292.90p -1.38%
Perform Group (PER) 404.50p -1.34%
Man Group (EMG) 108.20p -1.28%
Devro (DVO) 365.50p -1.27%
Fenner (FENR) 412.60p -1.22%
Lonmin (LMI) 363.20p -0.98%