The FTSE 100 ondex gained 52.60 points or 0.9% to close at 5,844 points today, led by copper miner Xstrata as its profits pleased investors.
Xstrata gained 5.53% to £17.57 after it predicted commodity prices will remain above long-term averages for a number of years, alongside a 60% rise in net profit to $1.71bn in 2005.
Chemical firm BOC also did well after good results from peer Air Liquide yesterday, while traders continued to speculate on a possible bid for the group with rumours of a possible £16.40 bid from Linde. BOC shares rose 2.45% to £15.47.
Vodafone was another strong performer, gaining 2.52% to 111.75p, as it clawed back some of its recent losses following news earlier in the week of an "impairment charge" of as much as £28bn.
Meanwhile, HBOS slumped 4.19% to 1,017.5p despite unveiling a 17% rise in 2005 profits to £4.81bn. Financial results revealed loans and advances to customers grew 9% to £344bn, while bad debts soared 28% last year.
HBOS has promised to open 100 Halifax branches over the next five years but sentiment soured and analysts have already cut its recommendation on the bank to "hold" from "add".
Barclays also dropped 1.57% to 658p as it began trading ex-dividend.
Insurer Royal & Sun Alliance fell 0.58% to 129.25p after it was downgraded to "underperform" from "in-line" on valuation grounds by Goldman Sachs, as the broker argued the shares outperformed strongly over the last year.
And in the US this afternoon, the Dow Jones index has so far risen 16.43 points or 0.2% to 11,009 points on optimism earnings growth will exceed investors' expectations this year.
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