Well-received results from a number of heavyweight stocks and M&A speculation surrounding Vodafone pushed the FTSE 100 firmly into positive territory on Wednesday morning, pushing the index to fresh multi-year highs.
The Footsie finished yesterday's session at 6,432, a level not seen since late 2007 before the financial crisis ripped through stock markets worldwide. On Wall Street last night, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 14,254, the highest level in its 116-year history.
A better-than-expected reading of US services activity and a pledge by China to hit its growth targets this year boosted markets on Tuesday. Meanwhile, dovish comments by members of the Federal Reserve earlier in the week lifted hopes that the US will continue with quantitative easing for some time yet.
"It's been pretty quiet this morning in terms of market moving news, I think this is simply the case of investors taking full advantage of the buzz that's been created in the markets after the Dow hit all time highs," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
"The majority of investors out there know this rally is on borrowed time, highlighted by the amount of buying recently of defensive stocks, so this was just seen as an opportunity to profit from the bull market while they still can," he said.
As for today's session, the focus will likely be on a series of economic announcements Stateside, including the ADP employment, factory orders and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book.
FTSE 100: Vodafone gains on Verizon rumours
Vodafone surged this morning after Bloomberg reported last night that part-owner Verizon Communications is looking to resolve its relationship with the UK telecoms group.
Richard Curr, the Head of Dealing at Prime Markets said this morning that if the stake is sold off, "it will provide the group with the firepower for further acquisitions and potential growth in emerging markets."
Insurance group Admiral rose strongly after lifting its dividend by 20% following a 15% rise in pre-tax profit in 2012.
Industrial manufacturing conglomerate Melrose also gained after seeing revenues rise by a half in 2012, helped by last year's acquisition of gas metering group Elster.
Insurance, investments and pensions provider Legal & General jumped higher after saying that the "uncertain, sluggish economy has had a minimal impact" on its business as it reported record sales for 2012.
Leading the downside were BHP Billiton, CRH, Rio Tinto and TUI Travel which were all trading lower after going ex-dividend today.
FTSE 250: Int'l Personal Finance gains after results
Home credit business International Personal Finance was leading the risers this morning after reporting a 9.0% rise in revenues in 2012. The country also said that it plans to expand its footprint with new market entries into Bulgaria and Lithuania in 2013.
Student accommodation firm Unite rose after more than doubled its dividend for 2012 after seeing profits soar in 2012.
Gold miner African Barrick Gold fell after announcing that it its Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Kevin Jennings, intends to leave the group in order to take up a similar role at another miner.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Vodafone Group (VOD) 180.15p +6.85%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 273.90p +5.35%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 169.80p +4.36%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,316.00p +3.87%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 847.00p +3.55%
Tesco (TSCO) 381.80p +2.58%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,412.00p +2.03%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,253.00p +1.97%
ITV (ITV) 127.10p +1.60%
GKN (GKN) 288.80p +1.33%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
CRH (CRH) 1,468.00p -3.04%
TUI Travel (TT.) 305.80p -2.86%
Evraz (EVR) 255.80p -2.40%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 559.50p -2.27%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,803.00p -1.88%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,381.50p -1.66%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,410.00p -1.35%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,611.00p -1.23%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,844.00p -1.18%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,085.50p -1.04%
FTSE 250 - Risers
International Personal Finance (IPF) 440.50p +8.39%
Bumi (BUMI) 327.80p +6.50%
Unite Group (UTG) 310.00p +5.48%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 258.70p +5.38%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 31.31p +5.10%
Morgan Crucible Co (MGCR) 299.80p +3.74%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 131.00p +2.83%
Salamander Energy (SMDR) 209.80p +2.69%
Heritage Oil (HOIL) 199.00p +2.52%
Henderson Group (HGG) 163.60p +2.51%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Regus (RGU) 142.40p -4.94%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 51.20p -3.85%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 278.20p -3.84%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 191.90p -3.62%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 200.00p -3.24%
Brewin Dolphin Holdings (BRW) 195.80p -3.07%
Anite (AIE) 150.40p -2.34%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 559.00p -2.02%
Grainger (GRI) 135.30p -1.96%
Halfords Group (HFD) 310.40p -1.77%