The FTSE 100 index of leading UK shares is holding firm after the opening today, following yesterday...
The FTSE 100 index of leading UK shares is holding firm after the opening today, following yesterday's profit taking both here and in New York.
With central bankers predicting a turnaround on the way and the best Christmas retail figures since the mid-1990s, there is reason to cheer.
However, warnings that a global turnaround could take longer than expected, and the deep discounting that has helped push retail sales along are both biting into confidence.
Overnight came news that media sector giant AOL is going to be forced to write off tens of billions of dollars because of accountancy changes.
And some positive news from PC maker Compaq was drowned out as the Dow Jones Industrial Average index dropped 62.69 by the close to 10,197.05.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index lost 22.28 points to 2,037.10.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index lost 246.76 points to close at 10,695.60, as Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended down 184.11 points at 11,708.53.
The big company news in the UK was in the mid-caps as television set-top box maker Pace Micro Systems said first half earnings would be depressed because of margin pressures.
The company is making inroads into the US market, but shares dropped 20p to 367p by 9.15AM.
In the large-caps, Brambles led the FTSE 100 gainers by putting on 11.5p to 365.5p after being mentioned positively in a report by investment bank Morgan Stanley.
Smiths Group, Old Mutual, Lattice and Friends Provident rounded up the other top five performers this morning.
Daily Mail and General Trust fell 19.5p to 695.5p after last night's news from the US media sector and reports that the job advertising market in the UK is still falling rapidly.
Two global vehicles
'Further plug advice gap'
Must appoint separate CEOs and boards
Advisers do come out well
Will report to Mark Till