The FTSE 100 share index rose on Wednesday by 85.8 points to 5,853.5 after dropping for five consecutive days.

The index rose 1.5 per cent overall and was helped by insurers like Prudential (up 6.8 per cent), Aviva (up 3.8 per cent), Legal & General (up 4.1 per cent) and Old Mutual (up 3.5 per cent).

One of the big winners of the day was Liberty International who rose 9.2 per cent after media reports of talks to form the world's largest shopping mall group.

Oil companies also rose after the news that OPEC would keep output unchanged, leading the price of oil to rise to $103 per barrel. BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose by 2.1 and 2.2 per cent respectively.

The performance among banks was mixed, with Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and Barclays all dropping. HBOS however rose 5.7 per cent, Alliance & Leicester went up 6 per cent and HSBC saw a small increase of 2.5 per cent.

British Airways rose 5.8 per cent whilst ITV increased 1.4 per cent. Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline however dropped by 2.6 per cent.