END-OF-DAY REPORT: The headline index ended the day firmly higher, as resurgent banking stocks lifted it back over the 6,700 mark. Morrisons' announcement of a deal with Ocado also raised sentiment.
At the close of business, the FTSE100 was up 35.26 points at 6,723.06 with the FTSE250 ahead 126.52 points at 14,693.06.
US stocks were comfortably higher in late morning trade following a welcome up-tick in consumer sentiment.
Approaching the London close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 64 points at 15,297, the S&P500 rose 9 points to 1,659 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 17 points at 3,481.
A lack of UK earnings news and concerns over disappointing US economic data ensured a quiet start to trading in London today, but momentum recovered during the session, inspired by supermarket operator Morrisons and a resurgent banking sector.
Morrison Supermarkets grabbed the early headlines after announcing it has signed a long term agreement with Ocado to enable it to start grocery deliveries to customers by January 2014. Morrisons will make an initial capital payment of up to £170m to Ocado. Shares in Morrisons rose 3.9p at 286.5p on the news, while Ocado jumped 72.2p (35.8%) at 274.1p.
However, banks took over the mantle of table-toppers later in the session, spurred on by UBS raising its outlook on the sector. The part-nationalised banks fared best on hopes of a speedy return to full privatisation, with Lloyds up 1.93p at 62.84p and with Royal Bank of Scotland heading the 326.8p.
Mobile phone giant Vodafone continued to gain support following news of its foray into German broadband, the shares adding a further 0.65p at 197.7p.
Miners recovered from a slow start, with Anglo American among the best of them, up 21p at 1,570p and BHP Billiton ahead 17p at 1,928.5p. Meanwhile, Randgold Resources dropped 145p at 4,757p as gold eased further below $1,400 an ounce and ENRC tumbled 23.7p at 271.6p as bid approaches were shunned.
Product testing specialist Intertek Group was slumped 67p at 3,385p when it said revenue grew 9.9% in the four month period to end-April but margins faced pressure.