European shares finished sharply higher.
Among the factors were as expected interest rate announcements from the UK and European central banks, improved US jobs and retail figures and a strong start to the quarterly earnings announcements from aluminium maker Alcoa . Banks performed well though Lloyds lost value on a report it plans to sell billions of pounds worth of new shares in order to exit the UK government’s asset insurance programme. Miners were boosted by metal prices rising across the board and gold at one stage hit a fresh record high for the third session in a row at $1058 an ounce. It is mostly being driven higher by the weakening US dollar which also pushed up the price of crude oil.