Markets opened strongly on Monday morning as eyes begin to turn to the Federal Reserve ahead of its all-important policy meeting this week while concerns about Syria eased.
The Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting is due to come to a close on Wednesday and will likely be one of the most closely-watched policy decisions in recent years, given rising expectations that the Fed will begin to scale back its quantitative easing (QE) programme.
"The ability of the economy to show sufficient signs of improvement within the jobs markets has been a core driver of expectations and the trends appear to point towards the economy being just about accommodative to such a move," said Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari.
Meanwhile, concerns over a potential military attack on Syria receded over the weekend after the US and Russia agreed that Bashar al-Assad's regime must hand over details of its stockpile within a week; the weapons will then be removed and destroyed before mid-2014.
Asian markets performed well overnight after former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers pulled out of the running to replace Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman when he steps down in January. The removal of Summers - widely viewed as a hawkish candidate in the running for the position - also positive reaction on markets on Monday on the back of hopes that current Fed Vice Chair and well-known dove Janet Yellen may now by the firm favourite. She is expected to favour a slower reduction of stimulus.
"Larry Summers was seen as more concerned about the unintended consequences of quantitative easing than the current Chairman and also the other contender in the race, current Vice-Chair Janet Yellen. So the Fed was seen reducing QE and raising rates earlier with him at the helm," said Chief Economist Simon Smith from FxPro.
Insurers, airlines provide a lift
Insurers were performing well this morning with Standard Life, Prudential and Legal & General among the highest risers. Airlines were also providing a lift as falling crude prices eased fears about rising jet fuel costs; easyJet and IAG were in demand.
Miners on the other hand were putting in a mixed performance with Fresnillo a standout faller, dropping over 10% early on. ENRC was also lower, while Anglo American and Antofagasta headed higher.
Plumbers merchant Wolseley was in the red after Credit Suisse downgraded the stock to 'neutral'.
Oil and gas services provider Petrofac was higher on the news that it is to operate and manage two training facilities for Malaysian oil major PETRONAS in a contract worth $120m.
Petra Diamonds jumped after swinging to an annual profit driven by a rise in revenue and production along with tight cost control and operational expansion. Net profit after tax came to $27.9m from the prior year's loss of $2.1m as revenue jumped 27% to $402.7m from $316.9m.
Aim listed water purification and dispensing systems group Waterlogic however fell despite seeing a strong increase in profits in the first half of 2012.
FTSE 100 - Risers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 323.00p +2.64%
Shire Plc (SHP) 2,540.00p +2.54%
Standard Life (SL.) 350.50p +2.28%
Prudential (PRU) 1,193.00p +2.23%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,329.00p +2.23%
Compass Group (CPG) 862.00p +2.07%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,600.50p +2.04%
TUI Travel (TT.) 360.50p +1.98%
Barclays (BARC) 307.35p +1.91%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 3,233.50p +1.86%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,060.00p -11.52%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 217.10p -1.32%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,158.00p -0.34%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,373.00p -0.33%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 791.00p -0.25%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,619.00p -0.18%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,123.00p -0.18%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 377.60p -0.05%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Redrow (RDW) 238.00p +2.76%
Bumi (BUMI) 210.10p +2.69%
Diploma (DPLM) 649.50p +2.61%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 389.70p +2.58%
Betfair Group (BET) 1,083.00p +2.56%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 45.64p +2.56%
Amlin (AML) 399.80p +2.43%
esure Group (ESUR) 233.00p +2.33%
Dunelm Group (DNLM) 961.50p +2.29%
Ophir Energy (OPHR) 343.60p +2.05%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 141.20p -14.01%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 242.20p -12.25%
Polymetal International (POLY) 658.50p -7.19%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 293.00p -2.69%
888 Holdings (888) 161.30p -2.24%
Domino Printing Sciences (DNO) 671.50p -1.54%
UBM (UBM) 736.50p -1.34%
Cobham (COB) 297.70p -1.19%
Devro (DVO) 335.00p -0.89%
Atkins (WS) (ATK) 1,229.00p -0.81%