The FTSE 100 index rose 61.20 points, or 1%, to 6,318 points today, led by retailer Next.
Next leapt 6.63% to £22.35 after it reported a “solid” year, with profits up towards the top end of forecasts despite negative like for like sales growth in Next Retail.
The ABN Amro merger story kept Barclays stock up for the third day in a row, gaining 3.72% to close at £7.39.
Reuters jumped 1.79% to £4.56 after Morgan Stanley said it was maintaining its ‘overweight’ rating and increasing its price target to £5.24 from £4.84.
Mining stocks also gained, with Antofagasta up 3.91% at £5.18, Rio Tinto up 2.14% at £28.65 and BHP Billiton up 1.37% at £11.06.
Standard Life ended down 0.57% at £3.05, despite saying full year profit rose 55% to £614m, above forecasts of around £503m, after strong demand for its UK pension products.
New business contribution before tax came in at £205m compared with £33m the year before, although some analysts expressed disappointment at the lack of any strategic news.
In the US, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 23.55 points, or 0.19%, at 12,423.97 points after Motorola's forecast for a quarterly loss raised concerns about profits.
Motorola shares have registered their biggest daily percentage drop in more than two months, falling 4.9% to $17.82. The stock has sagged to as low as $17.75 -- its lowest level in nearly two years.
Palm has declined 9.3% to $17.64 as hopes for a buyout for the handheld computer maker faded ahead of its earnings, expected after Thursday's closing bell.
Shares of Exxon Mobil have risen 1.2% to $74.13, while Procter & Gamble has jumped 1.03% to $63.60 after Bear Stearns raised its rating on the consumer products maker.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Emily Perryman on 020 7034 2680 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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