The FTSE 100 index has gotten off to a shaky start this morning, earning a small rise of just 0.3 points to 6,155.5, as traders remain cautious ahead of key company results released later this week.
Standard Chartered is posting the biggest gains so far with a rise of 2.53% to £14.61, following reports the Dubai government agency Istithmar might raise its stake in the Asia-focused bank.
British Airways is higher with a rise of 1.89% to 457.5p, closely followed by insurer Prudential which has added 1.1% to 644.5p, while miner Anglo American has added 0.91% to £24.34, and Intercontinental Hotels Group has climbed 0.8% to £10.05.
Enterprise Inns is the biggest faller so far with a drop of 1.29% to £10.69, closely followed by mining firm Kazakhmys which is down 1.28% to £12.34, while Severn Trent has slipped 0.89% to £14.46.
British Energy is also down 1.12% to 443p, after brokers cut its target rating and kept it at “neutral” following news of further damage to boiler tubes reported last week, while BG Group slipped 0.93% to 696p.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 137.19, or 0.8%, to 16,788.82 at the 3pm close, as stocks gained on expectations companies will announce higher profits in the coming weeks.
Shin-Etsu, the world's largest maker of silicon wafers, jumped 170 yen, or 2.2%, to 8,050, after announcing net profit for the last six months rose 35% to 74.9 billion yen, 14% higher than the company's forecast.
Meanwhile, Honda climbed 40 yen, or 1%, to 4,100, on expectations it will probably report a record 138.6 billion yen second-quarter profit, while Nissan, Japan's second biggest carmaker, added 5 yen, or 0.4%, to 1,363.
Matsushita, maker of Panasonic-brand products, climbed 10 yen, or 0.4%, to 2,590, while Sony, the world's second-largest consumer electronics maker, gained 20 yen, or 0.4%, to 4,770.
Elsewhere Inpex, Japan's biggest oil explorer, declined 5,000 yen, or 0.5%, to 938,000, while Japan Petroleum Exploration, the second largest, slumped 200 yen, or 2.8%, to 6,910, and Nippon Oil, Japan's biggest petroleum refiner, lost 3 yen, or 0.4%, to 863.
And in the US on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended trading down 9.36 points, or 0.08%, to 12,002.37, as disappointing figures from Caterpillar and Merck overshadowed more upbeat numbers from Google.
Heavy equipment giant Caterpillar fell 14.52% to $59, after it missed third quarter earnings forecasts and reduced its earnings outlook for the full year, although Merck gained 2.58% to $45.64 as it beat forecasts but said it has made a provision of a further $600m for possible costs for its painkiller Vioxx.
Meanwhile Google climbed 7.89% to $459.67, after it released another bumper set of numbers showing quarterly profit up 92%, although Coca-Cola was one of the biggest gainers with a rise of 4.1% to $46.75.IFAonline
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