In the UK stocks rose, led by Boots Group and Alliance Unichem after the two companies agreed to merge in a stock transaction valued at as much as £3.2bn.
The FTSE 100 Index climbed 23.8 points, or 0.4%, to 5501.5 at its close a short while ago.
Boots, owner of the largest UK drugstore chain, jumped 24.5p, or 4%, to 633p. Meanwhile, Alliance Unichem, Europe's second-biggest drug distributor, advanced 8.5p, or 1%, to a record 875p.
Shares of companies reliant on US sales, such as Wolseley and GlaxoSmithKline, climbed as the dollar rose to a two-month high against the British pound.
Wolseley, the world's biggest distributor of plumbing and heating equipment, gained 3.4% to 1,240p. The company made almost half its sales in the US last year.
GlaxoSmithKline, Europe's largest drug manufacturer, added 1.2% to 1,459p, the highest in more than three years. The US accounted for 45% of 2004 revenue.
Against the dollar, the pound slipped as low as $1.7520, the lowest since July 29. The currency has dropped 4.8% against its US counterpart in the past month and last traded at $1.7555.
Mining stocks such as BHP Billiton and Anglo American declined on speculation copper prices will drop.
BHP, the world's biggest mining company, slipped 18.5p, or 2%, to 897.5p. Anglo American, the world's No.2 miner, lost 24p, or 1.4%, to 1,666p.
BAA, the world's largest airport operator, gained 10.5p, or 1.7%, to 634.5p aftert it said Mick Temple will succeed as executive chairman of London's Heathrow Airport after Janis Kong's retirement next year.
Marks & Spencer Group, the UK's largest clothing retailer, rose 5.25p, or 1.4%, to 380p, the highest since July 2002, after analysts upgraded the stock to “neutral” from “underperform” because of the potential for higher profitability.
Northern Rock, the UK's eighth-largest bank, dropped 16.5p, or 2%, to 818.5p. The lender said profit may rise about 14% this year, less than its forecast of 15% growth.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 37 points, or 0.35% to 10,531.70 in morning trading led by American Express.
Amex has fallen $6.89, or 12%, to $50.55. Alcoa is also down $0.49, or 2.01% to $23.93.IFAonline
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