The FTSE 100 is up 15.10 points, or 0.24%, to 6,243.1 in early trading, with BAE Systems leading the charge
Following the announcement yesterday that the government is scrapping the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into how BAE Systems won contracts with Saudi Arabia, the defence firm is posting teh biggest gains and is up 5.85% to 420.5p.
Prudential is also performing well with a rise of 2.3% to 711.5p, closely followed by British Land which is up 1.97% to £16.60, while Alliance & Leicester have added 1.52% to £11.35.
However another insurer, Resolution, is leading the fallers with a drop of 1.24% to 639p, closely followed by Johnson Matthey which is down 1.05% to £14.16, while Corus Group is down 1.02% to 531.5p.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 85.11, or 0.5%, to 16,914.31 at the 3pm close, after the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey of business confidence reached a two-year high.
Among the risers, Sony, the maker of the PlayStation 3 game console, climbed 80 yen, or 1.6%, to 5,050, closely followed by Mitsubishi Estate which advanced 40 yen, or 1.3%, to 3,110, while Honda Motor, the world's second-largest carmaker by market value, also rose 50 yen, or 1.2%, to 4,250.
Meanwhile Inpex, Japan's biggest oil explorer, surged 21,000 yen, or 2.1%, to 1.01 million, while Japan Petroleum Exploration, the second largest, rose 60 yen, or 0.8%, to 7,280, as crude oil for January delivery rose 1.9% to $62.51 a barrel in New York.
Although companies which are heavy users of fuel dropped, with Nippon Yusen K.K., Japan's biggest ship owner, falling 9 yen, or 1.1%, to 847, while All Nippon Airways, the nation's biggest domestic carrier, lost 4 yen, or 0.9%, to 433.
And Japan Tobacco, the world's third-biggest maker of cigarettes, rose 18,000 yen, or 3.1%, to 597,000, after the company said it made an offer to buy the UK-based cigarette maker, Gallaher.
In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 99.26 points, or 0.81%, to 12,416.76, as investors welcomed upbeat earnings from the banking sector and a bigger than expected fall in initial jobless claims.
American Express posted the biggest gains with a rise of 3.22% to $61.90, closely followed by Du Pont which gained 2.67% to $48.40, while Home Depot added 2.2% to end yesterday’s session at $39.97.
Honeywell International also performed well with a rise of 1.98% to $42.69, closely followed by Exxon Mobil which climbed 1.77% to $78.73, although the gains were only slightly limited by three failing stocks.
United Technologies was the biggest drag on the index with a fall of 3.35% to $62.06, after reporting profits in line with expectations after the close on Wednesday, while 3M Company dropped 0.61% to $78.77, and Procter & Gamble slipped 0.08% to $63.35.IFAonline
Partner Insight: For Blackfinch, the arrival of its IHT portfolio services was a 'natural evolution' in the group's offering and points to an established track record of returning cash to investors.
Senior Managers Regime
Interest rate outlook unchaged
FCA made demands last week