Britain’s FTSE finds its footing

London – UK shares rebounded from closing at their lowest level in three years in the previous session, as weak Chinese GDP figures boosted hopes for further stimulus, sending mining and oil and gas stocks higher.

Data from China showed that the country’s economic growth eased to 6.8 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, in line with expectations but still the slowest since the financial crisis.

Investors, however, were hopeful for further economic stimulus measures from the government in China, after growth last year was the lowest in a quarter of a century.

While growth figures met consensus predictions, industrial output slightly missed expectations.

“It doesn’t show a massive deceleration in the Chinese economy, and the slight miss does just give policymakers the opportunity to add a bit more stimulus, particularly while inflation’s low,” Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said.

The FTSE 350 Mining index was up 4.5 percent, led higher by Anglo American, which rallied 8.5 percent as the price of copper hit its highest in more than a week.

Fellow miners Glencore, Antofagasta, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton all rose between 3.6 percent to 7 percent.

The price of oil also bounced following strong Chinese fuel consumption figures, stemming a slide to 2003 levels earlier in the week after Iran returned to markets with plans to add to a large supply glut.

The FTSE 350 Oil and Gas index was up 1.1 percent, with BP and Royal Dutch Shell both gaining over 1 percent.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 1.3 percent at 5,857.59 points by 09h20 GMT, rebounding from closing at its lowest level in three years in the previous session.

Shares in British insurer Prudential were also in positive territory, gaining 2.5 percent after the company posted a slightly above-forecast capital ratio under new European rules.

Among mid-caps, shares in online grocery retailing company Ocado soared more than 15 percent, set for their biggest daily gain since November, on British media reports that Amazon is preparing a bid for it.