Demand for Easter eggs helped push up visits to UK shops in March ahead of a planned reopening of non-essential stores, industry figures showed.
The market spotlight will shift back towards Asia at the end of the week.
European stock markets extended their recent gains on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve said overnight that it was content to keep monetary policy loose for "some time" until economic conditions improve sufficiently from the Covid pandemic.
London stocks closed above the waterline on Thursday, after the top-flight index hit its best level since the pandemic following dovish minutes from the US Federal Reserve.
German Covid vaccine maker CureVac is hoping that emergency use approval from the European Union for its coronavirus jab will be forthcoming by June.
Honda and Verizon announced a partnership on Thursday to research how 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC) could improve safety for connected vehicles.
Apple has been forced to slow output due to the global shortage of components which has wreaked havoc in the tech and automotive industries.
Ncondezi Energy revealed on Thursday that non-executive director Scott Fletcher had acquired 10. 0m ordinary shares in the AIM-listed firm.
The US Commerce Department on Thursday added seven Chinese supercomputing companies to its 'black list' due to national security concerns.
Deliveroo: Berenberg initiates at hold with a target price of 310p.
Secure Income updated the market on the collection of rents due to-date on Thursday, following the end of the rent collection cycle for the March quarter, and monthly rents due from February to April.
Thor Mining updated the market on the mineral resource estimate of its wholly-owned critical minerals tungsten asset, the Molyhil Project, in Australia’s Northern Territory on Thursday, reporting that it now comprised measured, indicated, and inferred mineral resources totalling 4. 4 million tonnes at 0. 27% tungsten trioxide.
Republic of the Congo-focussed potash exploration and development company Kore Potash announced its intention to raise $11m (£7. 99m) before expenses on Thursday, to fund work on the Kola Project’s planned optimisation study.
Citi upgraded its stance on shares of software company Sage on Thursday to 'buy' from 'neutral' as it pointed to improving news flow.
London’s FTSE 250 was up 0. 1% at 22,189. 66 in afternoon trade on Thursday.
Wall Street trading started off with mixed results on Thursday after the S&P 500 hit another record close in the previous session and a sharper than expected increase in weekly jobless claims made little impact on major indices.
London’s FTSE 100 was up 0. 4% at 6,911. 21 in afternoon trade on Thursday, with sentiment underpinned by dovish minutes from the US Federal Reserve.
Initial jobless claims rose more than expected in the week ended 3 March despite signs of healing elsewhere in the jobs market.
London Stock Exchange is investigating a two-hour interruption of services at its recently acquired Refinitiv data business.
Top-level internet domain registry company Minds + Machines has conditionally agreed to sell the majority of its assets, it announced on Thursday, and transfer its rights and obligations under contracts and government approvals, to GoDaddy affiliate Registry Services, for $120m (£87. 23m) in cash.