FTSE 100: 7364.56 ▼ -60.84 (-0.82%)
Wall Street surged on Thursday as geopolitical concerns appeared to fade and investors anticipated a strong earnings season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 293 points, or 1.21%, to 24,483, the S&P 500 gained 22 points, or 0.83%, to 2,664 and the Nasdaq Composite added 71 points, or 1.01%, to 7,140.
Geopolitical issues appeared to fade after US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that a military strike on Syria may not be imminent.
Investor sentiment was also boosted by the weekly US initial jobless claims report, which pointed to sustained labour market strength.
The day's gains were broad, with seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors higher on the day, although the rally was led by financial stocks. The sector jumped 1.9%, with BlackRock Inc. rising 1.47% after posting quarterly profits that were up nearly 30% year on year, beating analyst expectations.
JPMorgan gained 2.5%, Citigroup won 3.3% and Wells Fargo advanced 1.4% cent. All three companies will report results on Friday.
The technology sector rose 1.3%, adding the most gains to the S&P. Facebook Inc was a notable laggard among technology stocks, falling 1.5%.
Delta Air Lines rose 3.0% after posting falling revenues but better-than-expected earnings per share.
Tesla Motors fell 2.3% following news it will no longer participate in a US probe of a fatal crash after disagreeing with officials over public disclosures about the investigation.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc shares dived 20.0% after the company's full-year profit forecast missed estimates.
In Asia, shares were buoyed on Friday in morning session, with indexes in the region trading higher across the board after US markets gained yesterday.
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1%. South Korea's Kospi edged up by 0.46%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was up 0.52%, while Shanghai composite edged higher by 0.26%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 firmed 0.43%.