The FTSE 100 has started the last trading session before Christmas slightly flat with a small rise of 1.5 points, or 0.05%.
Cruise operator Carnival is posting the biggest gains with a rise of 2.29% to £25.94, closely followed by British Land which is up 1.82% to £16.80, while Intercontinental Hotels have gained 1.55% to £11.79.
Insurer Old Mutual has climbed 1.17% to 173.25p, while Sage Group has added 1.12% to 271.25p, although gains are being limited by ICAP which is down 1.69% to 464.25p, while ICI has slipped 1.34% to 442.25p.
Shire Group is the biggest drag on the index with a fall of 2.64% to £10.34, although miners have also declined with Kazakhmys down 1.84% to £10.69, while Vedanta Resources has dropped 1.36% to £11.61.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 57.13, or 0.3%, to 17,104.96, as carmakers rose after Toyota Motor forecast record vehicle sales for the next business year.
Toyota climbed 120 yen, or 1.6%, to a record 7,800, while Honda Motor, Japan's third-biggest carmaker, jumped 100 yen, or 2.2%, to 4,570, also an all-time high, and Aisin Seiki, a maker of car parts 22% owned by Toyota, added 40 yen, or 1.1%, to 3,850.
Elsewhere Astellas, Japan's second-largest drugmaker, rose 40 yen, or 0.8%, to 5,290, while Toyota Tsusho, a trading company handling automobiles and fuel, climbed 100 yen, or 3.2%, to 3,200.
And camera maker Pentax jumped 41 yen, or 5.9%, to 731, while Hoya, Japan's largest optical-glass maker, advanced 60 yen, or 1.3%, to 4,570.
However Sumitomo Metal Mining, Japan's No. 2 copper smelter and biggest gold producer, dropped 42 yen, or 2.8%, to 1,474, while Mitsubishi Materials, the nation's third-largest copper producer, slid 6 yen, or 1.4%, to 426.
In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended yesterday’s session 42.62 points, or 0.34%, to 12,421.25, as weak economic data pulled stocks lower.
Alcoa was the biggest drag on the index with a fall of 2.46% to $29.30, closely followed by Hewlett-Packard which fell 1.31% to $40.80, while Intel slipped 1.12% to $20.37 and Du Pont dropped 0.99% to $48.98.
However JP Morgan Chase posted the biggest gains with a rise of 0.89% to $48.65, closely followed by Verizon Communications which added 0.8% to $36.68, while AT&T climbed 0.63% to $35.17 and Honeywell International gained 0.45% to $44.76.IFAonline
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