Investors were offered some relief from eurozone debt fears after stronger than expected Chinese manufacturing figures lifted sentiment.
The latest report, which showed that the country’s factory output boom picked up pace in November, ensured a strong session for miners and meant London’s FTSE 100 Index recovered from recent losses to stand 54.6 points higher at 5582.9.
China’s strong growth figures proved good timing for Prudential bosses as they met investors in London to outline their plans for Asia, including a target to double the value of last year’s operating profits during 2013.
Prudential shares jumped on the forecast, up 4% or 23p to 591p, as chief executive Tidjane Thiam said the company aspired to be “one of the winners in the post-financial crisis world”.
Other risers included accountancy software firm Sage after it reported a 14% rise in annual profits and a return to sales growth over the second half of the year. Shares rose 9.1p to 266.4p.
In other results, Thomas Cook dropped 4% in the wake of a 6% drop in full-year profits as growth in central Europe and Germany only partly offset a weaker performance in the company’s UK business.
The tour operator plans to generate up to £50 million of savings by reducing the number of managerial and support staff in the UK, as well as renegotiating supplier costs and upgrading IT.