For the second time in two weeks the FTSE 100 index held onto gains to close above the 4,000 points ...
For the second time in two weeks the FTSE 100 index held onto gains to close above the 4,000 points level – it closed up 36.10 points at 4,011.10.
The UK market followed the lead set by Germany's Deutsche Telekom and E.ON, Europe's largest and second largest telecoms and energy companies, which reported surprise profits.
Rising shares in the UK helped Legal & General surge 7p to 86p.
3i, Europe's biggest venture capitalist managed a 38.25p gain to 522p after its results for 2002 showed that it made more money from selling stakes than it spent on new investments – a significant turnaround from the previous year.
Cable & Wireless continued its climb out of the cellar, adding another 6.25p to 89.75p, which means it has gained 45p since 1 January this year and easily takes the position of FTSE recovery story of the year.
Sage was another TMT gainer, adding 9p to 156.5p.
Defensive stocks lost most ground.
Old Mutual dropped 3.75p to 88.75p and SAB Miller dropped 16.25p to 426.25p.
Diageo lost 18.5p to 645p, and Unilever dropped 11p to 552p – the latter after US commodities giant Archer Daniels Midland said it was buying one of Unilever's units in the UK.
The FTSE 250 mid-caps index gained 58.7 points to 4,672.5.
LogicaCMG, the software developer supporting most text messaging, said the UK market was improving, sending its shares up 16p to 136p.
Misys gained 18.75p to 214.25p.
Somerfield fell 7p to 93p.
Investec fell 40p to 757.5p after the company today announced the sale of a quarter of its South African stock to three local investment groups majority owned by black investors, in response to ongoing government moves to spread ownership of assets across different social groups.
US markets are up so far this afternoon.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 17 points to 8,665, the S&P 500 index is up 1 point to 939, and Nasdaq's Composite index is up 5 points to 1,539.
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