Reports that eurozone talks on the bailout for Greece were progressing well gave markets a much-needed boost with Wall Street closing early for the Thanksgiving holiday.
After a quiet morning the FTSE 100 advanced 36 points or 0.6% to burst through the resistance level of 5,800 to trade at 5,827. The UK's blue chip index has gained 215 points this week, a rise of 3.85%, one of its best performances all year. Year to date though the index has gained only 4.5%, having swung violently in May to recover during the summer.
In the US the Dow Jones industrial average raced 97 points or 0.75% higher at 12,933 while the more sedate S&P 500 gained 8.5 points or 0.6% to 1,399.
It was a similar story in Europe where the Euronext 100 index rose nearly four points or 0.6% to just over 663, lifted by the release earlier in the day of positive data from Germany (see below).
On currency markets the euro strengthened 0.5% against the dollar to trade at $1.2953 and firmed 0.2% against the pound at 80.98p.
Against the dollar the pound was 0.4% stronger at $1.5997.
Dollar weakness pushed up the price of gold nearly 1% to $1,745 an ounce, its highest level in a month.
Oil recovered with Brent crude spot price trading at over $112 a barrel. It had dipped earlier in the day in response to the ceasefire in Gaza not being broken.
Good German data fail to boost FTSE after strong week
9.40: UK markets were flat in early Friday, with a decent start from miner ENRC and forecast-busting German business confidence data failing to lift the FTSE from an early morning lull.
In the first hour of trading the FTSE 100 inched ahead 1 point, or 0.03%, to 5,790 points and the Mid-250 index shed 0.07%, or 7 points, to 11,854.
However, it has been a good week for the UK stock market with the FTSE 100 set to post a near 3.5% rise, almost its best performance this year.
Data showed German business confidence increased in November, beating expectations as sentiment improved against the backdrop of the ongoing eurozone crisis. The IFO survey gave a reading of 101.4, up from 100 in October.
Miner ENRC (ENRC.L) took on 2.5p, or 0.92%, to 275p, as the company boosted the role of its chairman, Mehmet Dalman. The former banker who took on the role in February was parachuted in to shake up corporate governance at the company after the departure of two directors. Dalman will now oversee finance, risk, human resources, compliance and investor relations.
Meanwhile progress was being made in Europe to reach a deal about the budget as negotiations amongst European leaders continue.
However, European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy, has made no concession to reduce the size of the EU budget as demanded by the UK, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
European markets tipped down: Germany’s DAX index gave up 0.11% to 7,236; France's CAC 40 index shed 0.27% to 3,489; and the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares lost 0.15% to 1,102.
Trading volumes are expected to be low as US markets will close early following after Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday. There is also little in the way of important economic data to be released later today.
Elsewhere Compass Group (CPG.L) added 3.5p, or 0.49%, to 717p as analysts at Citigroup raised their target price on the stock from 750p to 800p after the catering group's full-year results yesterday.
Miner Xstrata (XTA.L) ticked up 2.5p, or 0.25%, to £10.15 for keeping itself on target to produce metal at its Koniambo ferronickel mine in New Caledonia in 2013. The group announced it completed the construction of its first production line at the site.
To see our pick of the bunch of analyst notes go today's Expert View.
And go to our FTSE data pages to see all the other of today's risers and fallers.