In the UK FTSE 100 index of leading shares has added 21.10 points, or 0.4% to 5468 sending the benchmark to yet another four-year high in early trading.
Standard Chartered Bank and WPP Group are leading the gain advancing 17p or 1.4%, to 1,207p and 9p, or 1.6%, to 585p respectively.
Brewin Dolphin Holdings, a stockbroker and money manager, has added 5.75p or 4.8%, to 126p.
Compass Group, the world's largest caterer, has slid 11.75p, or 5.1%, to 221p. The company says Mike Bailey is quitting as chief executive following three earnings revisions in the space of eight months.
GCap Media, Britain's largest commercial radio broadcaster, jumped 48p, or 17%, to 325p. The company has raised its forecast for annual cost savings from Capital Radio’s purchase of GWR Group to £25m from £7.5m.
HMV, the operator of HMV music stores and Waterstone's bookshops, has dropped 10.75p, or 4.5% to 227.5p. The company says sales at outlets open at least a year have fallen 4.4% in the past four months.
In Japan stocks advanced, with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average closing at its highest since May 2001, after the Bank of Japan signaled an end to more than seven years of deflation.
Banks such as Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group led the gains as Bank of Japan said it is “getting closer” to the point where it can change its policy of flooding the economy with cash.
The Nikkei gained 125.87, or 1%, to 13,435.91 at its close in Tokyo a short while ago.
Mitsubishi Tokyo led gains by lenders after its merger partner UFJ Holdings doubled its profit forecast four days before the two banks formally combine. The stock surged 12,000 yen, or 9.5%, to 1.38 million.
UFJ, which will merge with Mitsubishi Tokyo on 1 October to create the world's biggest lender, also said yesterday it will pay a portion of money owed to the government from industry bailouts in 1998 and 1999. UFJ shares were delisted yesterday.
After the market closed, Mitsubishi Tokyo raised its first-half net income forecast 64%, also citing a reduction in costs for bad loans.
Other banks also gained. Mitsui Trust Holdings, Japan's seventh-biggest bank, climbed 126 yen, or 8.8%, to 1,562. Mizuho Financial Group, advanced 27,000 yen, or 4%, to 705,000. Resona Holdings, Japan's fifth-largest lender, soared 31,000 yen, or 12%, to 286,000.
Toyota climbed 160 yen, or 3.2%, to 5,120. Meanwhile Nissan Motor, Japan's second-biggest car manufacturer, rose 32 yen, or 2.6%, to 1,277. The stock was raised to "outperform" from "in-line" by analysts.
In the US, stocks ended mixed yesterday after news of an unexpectedly sharp drop in consumer confidence, which could signal further economic weakness ahead, and a surprisingly sharp drop in new home sales.
After a choppy session for the market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed a gain of 11.30 points to close 10,454.93 late last night.
Investors were eyeing energy prices that are a touch lower with New York crude oil futures off US $0.75 to $65.07 a barrel.IFAonline
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