The FTSE 100 is up 11.8 points, or 0.18%, to 6,428.2 in early trading, as oil stocks are off to a good start following a rise in the price of crude oil for May delivery.
BP is posting the biggest gains with a rise of 1.87% to 573.5p, closely followed by Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ shares which are up 1.59% to £17.25, while Shell’s ‘A’ shares have added 1.47% to £17.23.
Drug companies are also performing well with AstraZeneca up 1.64% to £27.96, while GlaxoSmithKline has climbed 1.33% to £14.52, although Experian is limiting gains with a fall of 1.01% to 590p.
Next is the biggest loser with a drop of 1.13% to £22.79, closely followed by Kingfisher which is down 1.09% to 271p, while miner Xstrata has slipped 1.07% to £27.65, and Rolls-Royce Group has fallen 0.95% to 493.25p.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 Stock Average stocks dropped 176.47, or 1%, to 17,363.95 at the 3pm close, with carmakers leading the decline on speculation companies will disappoint with their profit forecasts.
Toyota slumped 220 yen, or 3%, to 7,150, while Honda Motor dropped 60 yen, or 1.5%, to 3,990, and Nissan Motor slid 24 yen, or 1.9% to 1,228, as vehicle sales in Japan have dropped on a year-on-year basis for 21 consecutive months.
Sony jumped 170 yen, or 2.7%, to 6,510, as the company expects a group operating profit of more than 400 billion yen this year, although Seven & I fell 90 yen, or 2.5%, to 3,460.
Fast Retailing plunged 480 yen, or 5.2%, to 8,750, as the operator of Japan's Uniqlo casual clothing store chain, lowered its profit estimate for the year, while Kenwood surged 16 yen, or 8.6%, to 202 after a broker upgrade.
In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended yesterday’s session up 68.34 points, or 0.55%, to 12,552.96, as investors picked up cheap stocks following Wednesday’s decline.
Drug company Pfizer posted the biggest gains with a rise of 1.61% to $26.46, closely followed by Merck which added 1.56% to $46.36, while Microsoft climbed 1.53% to $28.54.
Du Pont advanced 1.52% to $49.40, while Honeywell International added 1.29% to $46.99, although gains were limited by Verizon Communications which slipped 0.03% to $37.37.
AT&T was the biggest loser with a fall of 0.72% to $38.66, closely followed by General Motors which fell 0.29% to $31.37, while Alcoa slipped 0.03% to $35.07, and Wal-Mart declined 0.02% to $47.26.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Nyree Stewart on 020 7034 2681 or email [email protected]IFAonline
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