Top shares rose on Tuesday, aided by mining stocks after data from top metals consumer China eased worries over the demand picture, although fears of a Greek default kept a lid on the gains.
The benchmark <.FTSE> closed up 36.51 points, or 0.7 percent, at 5,693.95, having earlier baulked just above the near-term 5,720 resistance level.
Miners <.FTNMX1770> tracked solid gains in metals prices after China's economy grew at a pace better than some had expected, though expanded at its weakest pace in 2-1/2 years in the latest quarter.
It's a very important focal point for the macro picture. China needs to avoid a hard landing and this data today does assist with that somewhat, Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads, said.
Nomura also weighed in on the company, saying it was one of its top picks among European miners.
India-focused refiner and power generator Essar Energy
Essar's shares sank 26 percent to their lowest level since the company listed in London in 2010, in hefty trading volume, at almost eight times its 90-day daily average.
Investors were rattled about prospects for a Greek default, which could worsen Europe's debt crisis by pushing borrowing costs for countries on the bloc's periphery to unsustainable levels.
Talks between Greece and its private sector creditors on a debt swap deal which broke down last week are expected to resume on Wednesday.
Athens requires a swift resolution to avoid defaulting on 14.5 billion euros of bond redemptions that fall due in late March.
Despite these overarching worries, UK banks <.FTNMX8350> put in a solid showing, with Royal Bank of Scotland
(The) disposal will release $2.5 billion of risk-weighted assets, assisting RBS to reduce its wholesale funding commitment and strengthen core Tier 1 capital, Oriel Financials said, reiterating its buy recommendation on the stock.
Insurers gained, too, with insurance buyout vehicle Resolution
Although the outlook remains relatively challenging for life, and unexciting for non-life, we think we have identified promising niches, UBS said in a note.
After a choppy session, Burberry
Some analysts said the figures were flattered by a pulling forward of wholesale orders and that the firm's full-year guidance implied little growth in fourth-quarter wholesale sales.
Even with the positive macro-economic news, companies are still struggling to maintain expectations above market consensus, Atif Latif, director of equities and derivatives at Guardian Stockbrokers, said.
We think that the Greek situation is still a grave concern and it is a case of when an orderly default will occur which will increase the pressure on the ECB, he said.
(Additional reporting by David Brett; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)