Some reassuring results from US bluechips including Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs helped underpin investor confidence closer to home as trading wound down ahead of the long Easter holiday weekend.
Fund Fund manager Schroders and Barclays, up 4.2 per cent at 2,559p and 3.8 per cent at 246.5p respectively, led the gains among UK financials.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index closed up 41.08 points at 6,625.25 ahead of the Easter break, with the London market closed both tomorrow and Monday. It marks the highest close since 10 April.
Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said: “Even with a mid-week wobble, London’s leading index is up for the week and back above 6,600, a fact that will please the optimists.
“Economic data has not set the world on fire today, but pre-Easter tidying up among investors has seen a boost in popularity for some of the more badly-hit companies.”
The FTSE 100, which rose 14.4 per cent last year, is down by about 2 per cent since the start of 2014.
The index reached a peak of 6,867 in January, around its highest levels since early 2000, but has since dropped on concerns over a slump in emerging markets and fears over fallout from tensions between Russia and Western powers over Ukraine.
RSA Insurance climbed 2.3 per cent to 94.7p today after selling operations in the Baltics and Poland for a total of €348 million (£286m), the latest step by chief executive and ex-RBS boss Stephen Hester to turn the insurer around.
A drop in spirits group Diageo limited the Footsie’s gains. Its shares fell 3.7 per cent to 1,829p after weakness in its Chinese market led to lower third-quarter sales.
Babcock International slumped 11.6 per cent to 1,216p in the wake of its recent rights issue.