Strong performances from Vodafone, Admiral and Melrose helped extend gains on the FTSE 100 on Wednesday morning, pushing London's benchmark index to fresh five-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.
"Irrespective of what the economic data appears to be telling us about the state of the broader economy the markets continue to roll on higher, squashing the bears in their wake. Anyone trying to pick the top in these rather illogical markets just gets swatted aside," said Senior Market Analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets.
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.
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.
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 edged higher after saying that the "uncertain, sluggish economy has had a minimal impact" on its business as it reported record sales for 2012.
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) 177.85p +5.49%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 273.70p +5.27%
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,331.00p +5.05%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 836.00p +2.20%
Tesco (TSCO) 379.70p +2.02%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 165.00p +1.41%
GKN (GKN) 288.90p +1.37%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,396.00p +1.35%
Schroders (SDR) 2,058.00p +1.28%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,228.00p +1.19%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,388.00p -2.25%
TUI Travel (TT.) 308.10p -2.13%
CRH (CRH) 1,484.00p -1.98%
Associated British Foods (ABF) 1,832.00p -1.82%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,381.00p -1.67%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,083.00p -1.16%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,531.00p -0.98%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 1,820.00p -0.95%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 567.50p -0.87%
Polymetal International (POLY) 981.00p -0.81%
FTSE 250 - Risers
International Personal Finance (IPF) 431.30p +6.13%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 255.00p +3.87%
Dixons Retail (DXNS) 30.90p +3.73%
Bumi (BUMI) 318.30p +3.41%
Morgan Crucible Co (MGCR) 295.60p +2.28%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 1,399.00p +2.04%
Man Group (EMG) 99.65p +1.68%
Essar Energy (ESSR) 143.30p +1.63%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,404.00p +1.59%
Investec (INVP) 497.70p +1.55%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 199.90p -3.29%
BlackRock World Mining Trust (BRWM) 556.50p -2.45%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 229.90p -2.42%
Grainger (GRI) 134.80p -2.32%
Lancashire Holdings (LRE) 887.00p -2.31%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 800.00p -2.26%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 692.50p -2.05%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 284.10p -1.80%
Diploma (DPLM) 608.00p -1.70%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 195.80p -1.66%