FTSE rises ahead of Greek debt swap

London Stock ExchangeConfidence has returned to markets amid hopes that Greece will complete a debt swap with bondholders in order to secure more bail-out funds.

Fears earlier this week that too few bondholders will participate have receded, resulting in an improvement in the risk appetite of investors.

With a key US job report also boosting spirits, the FTSE 100 Index climbed more than 0.5% or 34.5 points to 5825.9.

Miners such as Vedanta Resources, which lifted 35.5p to 1379.5p, drove the improvement, while supermarket chain Morrisons was up 2% after it published full-year figures slightly ahead of market expectations.

Morrisons, which has 455 stores in the UK, recorded an 8% rise in underlying profits to £935 million in the year to January 29, as like-for-like sales rose by 1.8%. The City had been expecting profits of around £922 million.

There was also a further improvement for insurer Aviva as chief executive Andrew Moss increased operating targets in the wake of a 6% rise in 2011 profits.

Shares were up 2% or 7.1p to 358.1p and have rallied by around 30% since December as the eurozone crisis eases, a trend reflected in a jump in Aviva's solvency cushion to £3.3 billion at the end of February.

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