Blue chip shares lifted in afternoon trading after strong eurozone data saw markets across the continent rise.

The FTSE 100 Index was up 37.6 points to 7156.1, following positive reports for eurozone growth, unemployment and inflation. The FTSE 250 Index rose 118 points to 18199.7.

The 19-member bloc grew 0.5% in the fourth quarter of last year, better than the 0.3% in the previous quarter. Unemployment across the area fell to 9.6%, the best reading since the start of 2009. Lastly, prices in the region jumped to 1.8% from 1.1% last month, marking the highest consumer price inflation figure in almost four years.

Stock markets also rose in France and Germany.

In London, Royal Dutch Shell lifted after it agreed to offload holdings in 10 North Sea oil fields in a deal worth up to £3.1bn ($3.8bn) to UK independent explorer Chrysaor.

The oil major said the move is part of Shell steamlining its worldwide assets after it completed its £50bn purchase of gas major BG last February. Shell shares lifted 26.5p to 2272.5p.

The biggest afternoon risers in the FTSE 100 Index were BHP Billiton (+41.5p to 1457p), Anglo American (+34.5p to 1367.5p), Antofagasta (+21p to 835p), Old Mutual (+5p to 210.8p) and Sage Group (+14p to 620.5p).

The biggest afternoon fallers in the FTSE 100 Index were Next (-58p to 3828p), Associated British Foods (-35p to 2396p), AstraZeneca (-57.5p to 4203p), Tesco (-2.5p to 195.3p) and Vodafone (-2.2p to 193.8p).

The biggest afternoon risers in the FTSE 250 Index were Greencore (+14.6p to 233p), Nostrum Oil & Gas (+28.4p to 471.7p), Ocado (+15.4p to 259.8p), Kaz Minerals (+22.3p to 459.4p) and Britvic (+29p to 618p).

The biggest afternoon fallers in the FTSE 250 Index were CYBG (-11.8p to 272.8p), IG Group (-18p to 528.5p), TalkTalk (-4.7p to 153.3p), IP Group (-5p to 190p) and Keller Group (-14p to 806p).