The FTSE 100 climbed back over the 6,000-point mark in the first hour of trading today, as the index rose after positive trade data from China helped abate fears of a possible slowdown in the world's second largest economy.
Improvements in Chinese export data appear to suggest that while the economy is slowing, things may not be nearly as bad as markets had been fretting about, said Michael Hewson, chief markets analyst at CMC markets.
This rallied investors to a "positive open this morning in Europe, even if Chinese stock markets don’t appear to be basking in the improvement that much".
The index rose 1.19 per cent to 6,002 points, led higher by pharmaceuticals and oil companies after the price of oil climbed last night.
BP was up 3.28 per cent to 333.7p per share, while Shell climbed 2.52 per cent to 1,383p per share. BG Group wasn't far behind, rising 2.25 per cent to 940.8p per share.
Oil prices started to rise yesterday after having fallen below $30 a barrel earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Sainsbury's share price rose by just 0.12 per cent to 251.5p per share. The supermarket today reported total retail sales up 0.8 per cent over the crucial Christmas period, and said the second half will see increasingly improved figures.
And Tesco rose three per cent to 159.85p per share. Tesco will announce its own results tomorrow.
Shire was also at the top end of the FTSE, days after the pharmaceutical mega-merger with Baxalta was announced. Its share price rose 3.72 per cent to 4,267p per share.
GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca were also trading higher, rising 1.48 per cent to 1,383p per share and 1.49 per cent to 4,388.5p per share respectively. Hikma Pharmaceuticals was up 1.96 per cent to 2,235p per share.