By 9am, the blue-chip index was up over 2.4 per cent to 3,853 following quarterly results from retailer M&S in which executive chairman Stuart Rose said he was confident he was doing right for customers. By midday, the index had extended its gain to 3 per cent, reaching 3,876.
The UK retailer posted a better than expected 4.2 per cent decline in like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to 28 March and by 9am M&S shares were up over 9 per cent to 289p per share. By midday, they were up 10 per cent to 291.50p.
Financials held up well with Barclays gaining 2.35 per cent to 152.60p, Lloyds Banking Group up 6.94 per cent to 69.30p, Royal Bank of Scotland up 4.29 per cent to 24.30p and HSBC up 5.13 per cent to 389.50p.