Unemployment fell less than expected according to the latest US figures published earlier today, helping reverse fears of interest rate rises there, and helping the FTSE add 31.90 points to 4,571.80 by the close.
British Airways gained most, up 8.75p to 294.5p after figures showed a rise in European airline passenger numbers and business hotels in the US reported they could increase room prices because of demand.
Intercontinental, the hotels business spun out of Six Continents, formerly Bass, gained 15.5p to 534p.
Scottish & Newcastle gained 11.25p to 415.25p on news of the closure of a brewery in Newcastle.
Cable & Wireless gained 2.75p to 122.25p on news analysts at ING Financial Markets have raised their recommendation on hopes new management will be more open with shareholders.
Abbey National dropped 15p top 420p on a profits warning stemming from losses associated with its retail banking operations.
Exel, the logistics firm, shed 8p to 734.5p after announcing its first quarter were in line with expectations.
The FTSE 250 index gained 18.3 points to 6,313.8, led by South Africa-based technology firm Dimension Data, which added 2p to 37.5p.
Shares are up strongly in the US today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average currently up about 132 points to 10,449 and the broader S&P 500 index up about 13 points to 1,137.IFAonoine
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