News from Venezuela, of all places, is influencing activity on the FTSE 100 this morning as a decisi...
News from Venezuela, of all places, is influencing activity on the FTSE 100 this morning as a decision to maintain Venezuela's oil production, rather than increase it, is driving UK oil prices up the index.
The FTSE 100 added 14.4 points or 0.3% to 4619.7 after the open but it was oil stocks, such as BP and Shell Transport which accounted for 50% of the trading, because Venezuela is the third largest oil supplier in the world.
Abbey National saw its share price go up by 17.5p or 2.3% to 794p after the chief executive told newspapers it was a target for merger with European banks.
Granada also climbed 5.5p or 5.1% to 114p as a consumer rentals firm called Boxclever Group - which is half-owned by Granada - sold £748m of asset-backed securities to fund expansion.
Lloyds TSB also climbed 13p or 2% to 655p as the banking group is today expected to meet its profits targets.
Majestic Wine also rose 17.5p or 4% to 455p as its full-year earnings increased 27% to £3.9m, and sales in the first 11 weeks of this year rose 12%.
Over in Asia, activity has been mixed as Japan climbed and South Korea and Taiwan dropped.
Four of the five biggest exporters from Japan rallied the market today after the Japanese government sold the yen to stem its three-month gain.
Sony advanced 2.2% to Y6,150 while Canon added 2.7% to Y4,510. The Nikkei 225 index added 1.1% to 10,471.32 points.
The US suffered its largest three-day drop at the end of last week since last September, as drug companies and their accounting methods were seen as a dangerous investment.
All of the top 15 US companies fell, as concern mounted over the prospect of more terrorism and the "overhand of distrust" caused by incidents such as the Enron collapse.
The S&P 500 index closed down 12.42 points or 1.2% to 993.87 while the Dow Jones lost 125.87 points or 1.3% to 9306.9 and the Nasdaq closed down 15.96 points or 1.1% to 1448.78.
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