The FTSE 100 index rose by 0.7% to 5063.7 points in early trading led by Royal Bank of Scotland, which edged closer to significant asset sales.
RBS rose 3.3% to 42.8p after reports it has assembled a shortlist of buyers for £4bn of assets, including its commodities trading and payment processing arms.
The sales were a quid pro quo with the European Commission to receive bail-out cash during the credit crunch.
Elsewhere, Wolseley gained 2.8% to £15.67 after being upgraded to 'buy' by UBS.
An announcement software manufacturer Autonomy Corporation is to acquire a portion of US rival CA Technologies sent Autonomy shares up 1.6% to £17.97.
Meanwhile, embattled BP fell 2% to 400.7p after US President Barack Obama used an interview yesterday to attack chief executive Tony Hayward.
The price slump came despite BP confirming a first quarter dividend of 14 cents per share. US senators had pressured it to suspend dividends until the exact costs of its US spill were known.
Ex-dividend stock Cable & Wireless Worldwide fell 3.1% to 80.5p, while Johnson Matthey was off 1.1% at £14.77.
In the US, the mood on Wall Street improved yesterday with both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indices rallying during the final hour. The Dow closed up 123 points, or 1.3% at 9939.98 points.
Newmont Mining rose 2.3% to $56.45 as gold neared an all time high, while Exxon Mobil gained 3.3% to $61.24.
McDonalds was also up, by 2.4% to $68.38, after reporting forecast-beating global sales.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 closed down 1% at 9439.13 points. Japan's exporters fell as the yen approached an eight-year high against the euro.
Nissan Motor Co., which derives 75% of its revenue from outside Japan, slumped 4.1%. Canon Inc, whose biggest market is Europe, fell 1.8%. Honda Motor Co, which makes 81% of its sales abroad, fell 2.8%.
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