Retail footfall jumped in February, industry data showed on Thursday, boosted by the half-term school holiday.
Industrial miners paced gains on a mixed day for the stock market following the release of stronger-than-expected factory sector surveys in China.
Factory sector activity in the People's Republic of China ramped up more quickly than expected in February, the results of two closely followed surveys revealed.
Early gains for European shares at the start of March evaporated as longer-term government bond yields continued to grind higher on either side of the Atlantic.
London stocks were mixed at the close on Wednesday following upbeat UK and Chinese manufacturing data, with miners pacing the advance but housebuilders under the cosh after a profit warning from Persimmon.
The market spotlight on Thursday will shift towards the euro area where consumer price data are due out that may help inform opinions of the near-term path for interest rates in the bloc.
A top Federal Reserve official said that bigger interest rate hikes might again be needed as soon as the central bank's next policy meeting.
Liberum upgraded Smith & Nephew to 'buy' from 'hold' and hiked the price target to 1,410. 0p from 1,120. 0p, saying it would look to buy on dips given the recent run.
London’s FTSE 100 was up 0. 9% at 7,945. 87 in afternoon trade on Wednesday.
The downturn in American manufacturing eased a little last month and so did price pressures, the results of a closely followed survey revealed.
FTSE 250: 19,901. 48, -0. 01% at1500 GMT.
Wall Street stocks were in the red early on Wednesday as March trading kicked off in much the same was as February wrapped up.
Factory sector activity in the US experienced a solid decline last month as levels of output and new orders registered further falls.
Life science company ValiRx announced the incorporation of a new wholly-owned subsidiary, Inaphaea BioLabs, on Wednesday.
Laundry technology developer Xeros announced the appointment of Alex Tristram as its director of finance and company secretary on Thursday.
Property fund manager and investor First Property announced on Wednesday that its subsidiary E and S Estates has secured a loan of €1. 7m.
Germany inflation unexpectedly ticked higher in February as food prices rose, according to data released on Wednesday by Destatis.
Engineering group Weir on Wednesday posted a rise in annual profits on the back of a booming mining industry, sparking a surge in the stock.
Jaguar Land Rover owner Tata Motors is reportedly seeking £500m from the UK government in state subsidies to build a battery factory in Somerset, UK media reported on Wednesday.
Harland & Wolff Group said in a trading update on Wednesday that it has a backlog of confirmed contracted revenues totaling around £900m.
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