The FTSE 100 is up 20.4 points, or 0.34%, to 5950.5, in early trading with miners continuing their gains from yesterday.
However Brambles Industries has posted the biggest gains so far with a rise of 4.11% to 487.25p, following speculation the world's top pallet supplier could be the subject of a takeover bid by General Electric.
Royal & Sun Alliance is also performing well with a rise of 3.46% to 149.5p, after it announced today its US operation will be sold to Arrowpoint Capital, a vehicle set up by the R&SA US management team, for £158m.
Miners are on the up too as copper prices extended their weekly gains, with Vedanta Resources jumping 1.8% to £11.88, closely followed by Antofagasta which has added 1.78% to 456.5p, while Xstrata is up 1.67% to £21.93.
On the down side ICAP is the biggest drag on the index with a drop of 2.74% to 506p, closely followed by Reuters which is down 1.47% to 436.5p, while Scottish Power has slipped 0.92% to 644.5p.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 76.98, or 0.5%, to 16,024.85 at the 3pm close, led higher by expectations Japan's new financial services minister will seek to ease the impact on the industry of regulations lowering the maximum interest rates they can charge.
Consumer lenders posted some of the biggest gains with Acom, Japan's No. 2 non-bank consumer finance company, surged 290 yen, or 6.2%, to 4,990, while Promise, the third biggest, jumped 270 yen, or 6%, to 4,770, and Aiful, the largest, rose 220 yen, or 5.2%, to 4,470.
Elsewhere Inpex, Japan's largest oil explorer, rose 16,000 yen, or 1.7%, to 937,000, closely followed by Japan Petroleum Exploration, the second largest, which jumped 260 yen, or 3.8%, to 7,150, while AOC Holdings, an explorer and refiner, added 60 yen, or 2.9%, to 2,085.
Mitsubishi Estate, Japan's second-biggest developer, rose 60 yen, or 2.4%, to 2,525, while Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the nation's biggest lender, gained 10,000 yen, or 0.7%, to 1.5 million.
However pharmaceutical companies declined with Tsumura, which controls almost 90% of Japan's market for Chinese herbal medicine, sliding 90 yen, or 3.2%, to 2,770, while Takeda Pharmaceutical, Japan's largest drugmaker, lost 60 yen, or 0.8%, to 7,310, and Astellas Pharma declined 80 yen, or 1.7%, to 4,660.
In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.85 points, or 0.17%, to end at 11,689.24, just short of its record closing high of 11,722.98, as an unexpected rise in August new home sales renewed optimism about consumer spending and the outlook for corporate profits.
Altria, the parent of companies which makes Oreo cookies and Marlboro cigarettes, shot up 2% to $77.29, for one of the biggest gains, rebounding after two days of heavy losses in the wake of a court ruling which said a lawsuit seeking billions of dollars in damages against the cigarette industry could proceed as a class action.
General Motors also performed well with a rise of 2.8% to $32.28, while McDonalds rose 1.9% to $39.79 after the company raised its annual dividend 49% to $1 a share, and Intel advanced 2.2% to $20.39.
Elsewhere a rebound in oil prices helped some energy companies' shares, with Exxon Mobil climbing 1.1% to $67.13, closely followed by Chevron which advanced nearly 1% to $64.20.IFAonline
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