UK stocks rebounded on Thursday, heading for their highest close in over six weeks, as markets shrugged off disappointing economic data in China and were buoyed by speculation that policymakers will take action to avert a global slowdown.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.3% at 6,634 by midday - it has not closed above this level since 29 September when it settled at 6,646.6.
The Footsie slipped on Wednesday for the first time in six sessions after a lower outlook from the Bank of England and a huge fine across the banking sector weighed on sentiment.
However, stocks were tracking gains on Asia overnight on Thursday as a raft of disappointing economic data in China - growth in industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment eased in October - renewed calls for stimulus. Investors were also reacting to speculation that the People's Bank of China is gauging smaller banks' demand for cash injections to support lending to businesses.
Meanwhile, US stock futures were pointing higher in pre-market trade on Wall Street after New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said that it would be "premature" to hike interest rates soon. He called for monetary policy to remain "very accommodative".
Reports that Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe could call for a snap election next month to seek support for a delay in another sales-tax hike was also helping stocks. An increase in the sales tax from 5% to 8% in April has weighed heavily on growth in Japan and Abe is thought to be looking to postpone any future hike until the economy recovers.
LSE, SABMiller, ITV and 3i provide a lift
London Stock Exchange was leading the risers by lunchtime after it revealed first-half growth across all its business areas as it moved ahead of schedule to complete the acquisition of US index compiler and asset manager Russell Investments.
Peroni and Grolsch maker SABMiller edged higher despite missing analysts' forecasts by reporting flat operating profits in the first half. However, the company said operating profits would have risen by 3% when adjusted for currency movements.
ITV rose after saying revenue growth accelerated in the third quarter as the TV group continued to generate television advertising revenues ahead of the market.
Shares in investment firm 3i Group also gained after the company said it delivered a "robust performance" in the first half, supported by a good flow of realisations and a strong balance sheet.
A number of stocks were trading lower after going ex-dividend, including M&S, Shell and BSkyB. BSkyB was also in focus after revealing that it would be changing its name to Sky after completing the acquisition of Sky Italia and a majority stake in Sky Deutchland.
Beverage can maker Rexam slumped on the FTSE 250 after warning that increasing costs will put a significant dent in next year's profits.
techMARK 2,848.15 +0.49%
FTSE 100 6,633.66 +0.34%
FTSE 250 15,653.08 +0.31%
FTSE 100 - Risers
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 2,079.00p +2.67%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 176.90p +2.25%
Carnival (CCL) 2,592.00p +2.21%
ITV (ITV) 204.30p +1.84%
Capita (CPI) 1,067.00p +1.81%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,575.00p +1.81%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,454.00p +1.80%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,002.00p +1.73%
Dixons Carphone (DC.) 410.80p +1.61%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 418.10p +1.58%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tullow Oil (TLW) 482.50p -2.09%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,289.50p -1.31%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,194.50p -1.28%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 848.00p -1.22%
Barclays (BARC) 226.85p -1.15%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 856.00p -0.75%
Standard Life (SL.) 402.70p -0.54%
BP (BP.) 431.95p -0.45%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,190.00p -0.41%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 718.00p -0.35%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 325.70p +6.02%
Rank Group (RNK) 161.00p +5.99%
Supergroup (SGP) 828.00p +4.15%
Aveva Group (AVV) 1,553.00p +2.64%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 249.20p +2.59%
Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) 48.86p +2.50%
EnQuest (ENQ) 69.90p +2.27%
Bodycote (BOY) 631.00p +2.19%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 372.70p +2.17%
Essentra (ESNT) 750.00p +2.04%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Rexam (REX) 444.50p -7.65%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 219.20p -6.60%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 70.00p -4.96%
Dairy Crest Group (DCG) 481.90p -3.43%
Afren (AFR) 74.30p -3.19%
PayPoint (PAY) 912.00p -2.51%
Grafton Group Units (GFTU) 656.50p -2.01%
Brit (BRIT) 249.90p -2.00%
Polymetal International (POLY) 529.00p -1.67%
Lonmin (LMI) 184.90p -1.39%