The FTSE 100 reached an all-new high at 7,210 as investors were encouraged by solid US employment data and a 0.5% rally in the pound against the Euro.
US non-farm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth was mainly in healthcare and social assistance.
Banking stocks continued to bolster the blue chip index with Lloyds (LLOY) rallying 2%, while Barclays (BARC) and HSBC (HSBA) made smaller advances of 1%.
West Texas Intermediate was 0.6% higher at $54 and Brent crude oil rose 0.5% to $57 per barrel, respectively.
Gold fell 0.6% to $1,173 per ounce and copper nudged 0.2% lower to $5,577 per tonne.
FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS
Budget airline easyJet (EZJ) failed to take off despite delivering a 15% increase in passenger numbers in the year to December.
FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS
Shares in home credit business International Personal Finance (IPF) slumped 7.4% on a dispute between its business in Poland and the local tax authorities.
SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS
Polymer technology developer Fenner (FENR) sparked 15% higher to 271.9p on an upbeat trading update as its current financial year is expected to surpass previous expectations. The company said its oil and gas operations were buoyed by an improved order intake and from refocusing its industrial business in North America.
Interdealer broker TP Icap (TCAP) jumped 9% on an uptick in trading activity for the final quarter of 2016. The firm said its interest rate derivatives, fixed income and treasury products benefitted from increased volatility and market activity after the election of Donald Trump as US president.
Gas storage firm InfaStrata (INFA) soared 69.5% to 0.7p after resources company Baron Oil (BOIL) agreed to loan £300,000. Combined with InfaStrata's existing funds, it will be able to meet minimal levels of maintenance costs for its Islandmagee project.
Fresh meat retailer Crawshaw (CRAW) declined 9.6% to 23p as group sales remained in the red in the five weeks to 1 January. Investors overlooked improved numbers as like-for-like rose from a 8.1% drop in November to -3.8% over Christmas.
Advanced surveillance technologies supplier Digital Barriers (DGB) secured two contracts. It said the first was with a major US Federal law enforcement agency and the second with a new customer in Africa, collectively worth $7m.
Global communications company Satellite Solutions (SAT) won a new contract with SES Techcom Services for new broadband capacity to support its ongoing sales in Europe. The firm also acquired the customers and supplier agreement from French broadband services provider SES Auvea Ingenierie for £870,000.
Shield Therapeutics (STX) dropped into negative territory after stating that pricing and reimbursement (P&R) agreements were slower than expected for its oral iron product Feraccru.