London - Britain's top share index rose to a three-week high on Thursday, with recent data pointing towards a global economic recovery improving investor sentiment.
At 09:43 SA time, the blue-chip FTSE 100 index was 59.15 points, or 0.9 percent, higher at 6,533.89.
The index closed 0.1 percent higher in the previous session and is up nearly 11 percent so far this year on the improved economic outlook.
Britain's services sector rose at its fastest rate for more than six years, a survey showed on Wednesday, a day after data showed British construction activity grew at the fastest pace in nearly six years in August.
UK figures were in-line with global data releases.
A report this week showed global manufacturing activity grew at its fastest pace in more than two years last month.
Markets remained cautious about a possible US attack on Syria.
“The broad flow of economic data has been positive in recent days. The Syrian issue is in the background, but a military strike is not imminent and that's allowing investors to concentrate on economic fundamentals,” Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.
US President Barack Obama's effort to win legislative backing for military strikes against Syria over chemical weapons passed its first hurdle on Wednesday when a Senate committee voted in favour.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the resolution next week.
“Investors are still fairly unsure how developments relating to Syria will go. Thus gains, despite stronger macro data of late are likely to be limited,” Jeremy Batstone-Carr, head of private client research at Charles Stanley, said.
Cyclical shares, which generally perform better when economic conditions improve, were in demand.
The UK banking index rising 2 percent; the UK auto index was up 1.8 percent.
The consumer discretionary sector also gained, helped by a 4 percent jump in InterContinental Hotels Group, the top FTSE 100 gainer, after UBS raised its stance on the stock to “buy” from “neutral”. - Reuters