Banks continued to reap the benefits of fresh investor confidence on Wednesday, with Lloyds Banking Group soaring more than 40%.
The Royal Bank of Scotland, up 25%, and Barclays, up 20%, also advanced on the back of a bullish note from Citigroup, which has had its research blackout lifted following the completion of the HBOS deal. Aviva, up 13%, and Prudential, up 12%, also profited.
At shortly after 2.30pm, the FTSE had advanced more than 116 points, or 2.78%, to reach 4,310.1, its highest since 13 January. The FTSE 250 is up 2.3%, while the FTSE All Share has climbed 2.45%.
Across the Atlantic, the Dow Jones soared in early trading, advancing almost 100 points, or more than 1%, to 8,265.61. Citigroup, up 16%, and Bank of America, up 15%, top the early movers.
However, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, which predicts world economic growth will fall to just 0.5% this year, its lowest rate since World War II, may yet have a say on both sides of the pond.
In October, the IMF predicted world output would increase by 2.2% in 2009. However, it now projects the UK will see its economy shrink by 2.8% next year, the worst contraction among advanced nations.
The IMF says financial markets remain under stress and the global economy has taken a "sharp turn for the worse".IFAonline
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