The top share index rose on Thursday morning in low volumes, after eight days of loses and ahead of British GDP data and with U.S. markets closed for a holiday.
Miners <.FTNMX1770> and banking <.FTNMX8350> stocks rallied, helping London's blue-chip index <.FTSE> gain 16.05 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,155.83 by 0903 GMT, having closed at its lowest level in seven weeks on Wednesday.
The index has lost 7 percent in November as the euro zone's debt crisis hits global growth and weighs on corporate earnings, while concerns have also heightened over the U.S.'s failure to tackle its debts.
David Morrison, market strategist at GFT Global, said with so much global debt weighing on growth the odds on a year-end rally seemed to be lengthening by the day and he saw equity markets struggling into 2012.
Ultimately the excessive debt overhanging developed economies will have to be written off and this will be horrific and deflationary. In addition, expectations for corporate earnings are currently too high and will soon be revised down sharply on profit warnings as consumers hunker down.
On Wednesday, weak manufacturing data from China and the United States, and poor industrial figures in the euro zone added to the gloom surrounding the global economic recovery, while a poor German bond sale raised concerns Europe's debt contagion could infect the region's richest economy.
With governments adopting austerity measures to combat swelling debt piles the high street, a barometer for consumer confidence, was a major focus.
Its shares rose 11 percent, having fallen sharply ahead of the results, with Espirito Santo saying the outcome was slightly ahead of expectation.
Arcadia, the Top Shop-to-Bhs British retail group owned by billionaire Philip Green, added to the bad news coming from the high street, posting a 38 percent fall in full-year profit.
Investors will look at the second release of third-quarter GDP at 0930 GMT to see how austerity measures have been affecting the broader economy.
Among the top gainers on the FTSE 100 were companies buoyed by bullish broker comment.
Peel Hunt, which upgraded Weir to buy from hold, said: This (seaboard) deal looks highly complementary ... and, even though the valuation looks full, it comes with good growth and cross-selling potential.
On the downside, integrated oils <.FTNMX0530> were the main drag, with heavyweight BP
We do not like the look of the technical's of big oil at a sector index and stock level. (The) oil services and tanker market giving off lots of negative signals, Darren Sinden, trader at Silverwind Securities.
(Additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Dan Lalor)