UK stocks : FTSE 100 index gains 0.3 percent
The FTSE 100 had edged lower in morning trade, but added 0.3 percent in 15 minutes after the release of data showing that U.S. private-sector employers added 215,000 jobs in December, well above economists' expectations.
"The FTSE 100 spent most of the morning relatively flat with investors possibly awaiting the [U.S. data], which traditionally is used as a barometer for the all-important non-farm payrolls that are due for release tomorrow," Lee Armitage, Senior Trader at Accendo Markets, said, adding that the expectation-beating results helped markets across the board.
"The FTSE took a lead from this and moved back into the blue."
London's blue-chip index closed up 19.97 points, or 0.3 percent, at 6,047.34, having hit its highest level since July 2011 on Wednesday after a deal in the United States to avoid a series of tax hikes and spending cuts that threatened economic recovery, known as the "fiscal cliff".
Oil and Gas stocks gained 1.3 percent, and energy added the most points to the index, contributing 13 points to gains.
"The big move for the UK is the Oil and Gas sector is rallying, which is a much bigger sector for the UK than for Europe," Henry Lancaster, senior investment analyst at Coutts, said, adding that they were attractive on valuation grounds.
"Oil stocks look cheap and out of favour, so it's something we think could run on."
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