Decent economic data from around the world helped increase the appetite for riskier assets such as financial and mining stocks.
Standard Chartered headed the risers’ board, up 2.5 per cent at 1,222p, while Antofagasta was the best performing miner with a rise of 1.5 per cent, to 781.5p.
The FTSE 100 Index made gains despite a number of companies going ex-dividend. It was up 13.45 points at 6,816.37 as human resources firm ADP predicted a sharp rise in US employment for June.
David White, a trader at Spreadex, said: “Risk assets are reacting in a mildly positive fashion to the ADP payroll number. The private report shows an increase in the number of workers added for the period ahead of expectations.”
The signs of strengthening in the US economy offered a boost to Ashtead, which is the country’s second largest equipment rental firm through its Sunbelt division. Shares in the FTSE 100 business rose more than 2 per cent or 20p to 914.5p.
The buoyant market for housebuilders was reflected by Persimmon, which said its sales were up by a third in the first six months of the year. Despite this shares in the firm, which trades as Charles Church and Westbury Partnerships, were 8p lower at 1,290p having risen by 10 per cent so far this year.
Outside the top flight, Mothercare was in the spotlight after the mother and baby products retailer rejected a cash and shares takeover approach worth £266 million from North American business Destination Maternity.
Mothercare’s board has refused to engage in talks with its potential suitor over the proposal, which values its shares at 300p. The stock surged more than 8 per cent on the back of the takeover interest, up 19.5p to 252p.