British Land slid after an analyst downgrade, helping the FTSE shed about 4.2 points to 6,156.1 in early trading.
The property company dropped 17p to £15.68 after HSBC reduced its recommendation to ‘neutral’ from ‘overweight’. Yesterday saw warnings from other property analysts about the increasing risk of the UK residential property market hitting hard times.
Cairn Energy is up 71p to £19.89 after it agreed to sell about 12% of its Indian subsidiary. Discoveries of oil and gas in that country are a large part of the stellar performance of the stock in the past few years.
Vodafone gained 2p to 135.5p after Swiss phone operator Swisscom said it wanted to talk to the UK firm about buying back a 25% stake in Swisscom’s mobile phone network operations.
Mining stocks are making gains too. Xstrata is up 19p to £22.85, while Kazakhmys is up 14p to £11.52. Rio Tinto is up 32p to £27.40.
Overnight the Dow Jones Industrial Average index gained 5.36 points to 12,326.95.
Alcoa, the aluminium producer, topped the gainers with a $1.24 rise to $30.43.
Dupont gained $0.59 to $48.62, while Caterpillar increased $0.60 to $62.79.
General Motors lost the most, down $1.52 to £31.09. One of the biggest investors in the company yesterday confirmed he will continue to sell down his holding after last year building it up to try to force management changes on the company.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 180.09 points to 15,914.23 earlier today, as 176 stocks made gains.
Softbank, a provider of software and IT services, added a massive 8.4% or 180 yen to its price, taking it to 2,320 yen.
Industrials did well, with Toho Zinc up 66 yen to 913 yen, or nearly 7.8%, and Japan Steel up 49 yen to 830 yen.
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