Strong manufacturing data from both the UK and China helped lift stock markets on Monday morning while concerns over a potential military strike against Syria eased.
London's FTSE 100 was registering triple-digit gains by lunchtime, with the index trading a level not since August 15th.
Manufacturing activity in the UK increased at its quickest pace in two and a half years in August, according to the Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI). The index's main gauge hit 57.2, higher than an upwardly revised 54.8 in July and better than the consensus forecast of 55. Any reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity.
Analyst Blerina Uruci said: "The strong gains made at the start of Q3 were consolidated, providing further evidence that the recovery is taking root. The improvement remained broadly based and the rise in new orders suggests that this solid performance is likely to continue in the coming months."
Meanwhile, China manufacturing PMI rose to the 51.0 point mark in August, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing in Beijing. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 50.6 and comes after a print of 50.3 in July.
Fears of imminent US military action against Syria were calmed over the weekend after President Barack Obama said he would seek approval from Congress before signing off on a strike.
"Obama, like his UK counterpart, David Cameron, is likely to face staunch opposition from both inside and outside his party, to military action, with memories of the hugely unpopular war in Iraq still fresh in people's memories," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
"Investors are unsurprisingly pleased with this delay, with the risk aversion seen towards the end of last week subsiding and money pouring back into European stocks," he said.
FTSE 100: Vodafone jumps on "advanced discussions"
Vodafone jumped early on after saying it was in "advanced" talks with Verizon Communications about selling its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130bn (£84bn). Verizon Communications would mainly pay in cash and shares.
Telecoms peer BT was also a standout performer this morning on the back of upbeat comments from Credit Suisse which reiterated its 'outperform' rating for the shares. The broker said that BT's second-quarter update next month will see rising wholesale fibre adds and a slowdown in the rate of line loss.
Mining stocks on the whole were performing well this morning after data from China impressed. Vedanta Resources was a high riser after Liberum Capital upgraded the stock to 'buy', with Anglo American, Glencore Xstrata and Antofagasta following closely behind.
Diversified mining group Rio Tinto was also in demand after loading the first shipment of iron ore from its expanded port, rail and mine operations in Australia. Rio said this was a "significant milestone" and marks the start of commissioning of the expansion programme, which is expected to see the company's iron ore operations in Western Australia increase capacity to 290m tonnes a year.
Fresnillo however was lower after UBS downgraded the stock from 'buy' to 'neutral' following its recent outperformance. In August alone, the spare price rose 27%, while silver and gold prices
rose only 17% and 7%, respectively. The valuation is now looking a little "stretched", UBS said.
Oil stocks were also out of favour as crude prices edged lower. West Texas oil continues to pull back after hitting a two-year high last week on concerns that tensions in Syria could spill over to surrounding regions, leading to potential supply disruptions across the Middle East. Producers BP and Shell were in the red this morning.
Tullow Oil managed to buck the trend though, rising in morning trade despite saying it has plugged and abandoned its Buzio-1 exploration well offshore Mozambique after failing to encounter hydrocarbons.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,047.00p +4.60%
WPP (WPP) 1,247.00p +4.35%
BT Group (BT.A) 339.40p +4.33%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,539.00p +4.09%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 888.00p +3.86%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 214.15p +3.83%
Prudential (PRU) 1,117.00p +3.62%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,275.00p +3.41%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 364.00p +3.35%
Standard Life (SL.) 342.30p +3.35%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,283.00p -1.53%
G4S (GFS) 258.20p -0.69%
Serco Group (SRP) 544.50p -0.55%
BP (BP.) 444.85p -0.30%
Aggreko (AGK) 1,623.00p -0.25%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,082.50p -0.24%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,384.00p -0.07%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Inmarsat (ISAT) 726.50p +4.53%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 173.20p +4.21%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 248.30p +4.11%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 2,199.00p +3.78%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 617.50p +3.69%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 266.80p +3.49%
Henderson Group (HGG) 170.70p +3.45%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 145.70p +3.33%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 45.00p +3.31%
Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 767.00p +3.16%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Xaar (XAR) 781.00p -3.94%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 323.60p -2.09%
Perform Group (PER) 513.00p -1.91%
Polymetal International (POLY) 743.00p -1.65%
Bumi (BUMI) 214.00p -1.65%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 108.20p -1.64%
Fisher (James) & Sons (FSJ) 1,085.00p -1.45%
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 1,186.00p -1.33%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 187.60p -1.26%
Rank Group (RNK) 158.30p -1.25%