Shares in the UK rose strongly this afternoon after Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress that US economic growth is strengthening.
The FTSE gained 10.7 points to 4,507.5, led by Aviva, which reported preliminary full-year results.
The insurer gained 18.75p to 561.25p after at one point gaining nearly 30p in heavy trading sparked by a rising dividend payout.
Royal & Sun Alliance added 2p to 105.5p, while Legal & General climbed 1.75p to 102.75p.
BP led the oil majors up with a 3.75p rise to 425p.
British Airways dropped 4.5p to 308p after competitor Lufthansa reported a full-year loss for 2003, sparked by large writedowns associated with a flight food catering business.
Abbey is down 5p to 550p as investors sold shares down ahead of results tomorrow, which are expected to show a reduction in losses on the back of asset sales.
Mid-cap stocks fared less well today, with the FTSE 250 shedding 8.4 points to 6,244.8 by the close.
Brambles, the pallet maker, fell 14p to 208.25p after reporting a 44% fall in first half net profit.
Serco, one of the biggest contractors to the Ministry of Defence, gained 13.5p to 211p on news of a £300m contract to supply services to the HM Prison Service.
Shares in the US are currently up. The Dow Jones Industrial Average index is up about 12 points to 10,579, while the S&P 500 index is up about 1 point to 1,140.IFAonline
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