The FTSE 100 is up 30.4 points, or 0.47%, to 6,492.8 in early trading, as the banking sector pushes ahead on bid speculation.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group is posting the biggest gains with a rise of 3.21% to £20.88, while Barclays is up 1.68% to 756p, following reports the race to buy ABN Amro is reaching the closing stages.
Man Group is also up 1.97% to 568.5p, closely followed by miner Vedanta Resources which has added 1.72% to £14.21, while insurer Old Mutual has advanced 1.69% to 174.2p, although Alliance Boots is limiting gains with a fall of 0.57% to £10.53.
However, Kingfisher is the biggest loser with fall of 1.02% to 267.25p, while Imperial Tobacco Group has slipped 1.02% to £22.39, Marks & Spencer has dropped 0.69% to 716p, and Scottish & Newcastle is down 0.6% to 584.5p.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 264.35, or 1.5%, to 17,628.30, after the yen fell to a record low against the euro, boosting the value of exports to Europe.
Canon, the world's biggest digital camera maker, jumped 170 yen, or 2.6%, to 6,620, while Honda rose 60 yen, or 1.5%, to 4,050, and Advantest, the world's biggest maker of memory-chip testing equipment, climbed 130 yen, or 2.4 percent, to 5,540.
Takeda Pharmaceutical, Japan's biggest drugmaker, advanced 160 yen, or 2.1%, to 7,940, while Daiichi Sankyo, the nation's second largest, climbed 100 yen, or 2.7%, to 3,760, and Nintendo advanced 1,100 yen, or 3%, to a record 37,400.
Mitsubishi UFJ Nicos, a consumer credit affiliate of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, dropped 13 yen, or 3.4%, to 373, while Takefuji, Japan's fourth-biggest consumer lender, fell 100 yen, or 2.2%, to 4,450, and Credit Saison, which provides credit card services, slid 130 yen, or 3.5%, to 3,640.
In the US on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 59.17 points, or 0.47%, to 12,612.13, despite a weak reading on consumer sentiment and a fresh inflation report.
Drug companies led the gains with Merck up 8.3% to $50.21, closely followed by Pfizer which advanced 0.79% to $26.67, while General Motors added 2.07% to $32.02, and McDonald’s climbed 2.17% to $47.64.
American Express also advanced 1.5% to $57.36, although gains were limited by JP Morgan Chase which slipped 0.22% to $49.09, while Procter & Gamble dropped 0.22% to $63.38.
However, IBM was the biggest loser on Friday with a drop of 0.77% to $94.93, closely followed by Altria Group which slipped 0.56% to $69.56, while Home Depot declined 0.34% to $37.89.
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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