In the UK, the FTSE 100 index of leading shares is up 13.6 points at 5,491.30 in morning trading. Leading the benchmark is a Boots/Alliance Unichem merger providing the early excitement.
Leading the benchmark is a Boots amd Alliance Unichem merger providing the early excitement.
In Japan, stocks fell after the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey showed weaker-than-expected confidence among the nation's largest manufacturers. Banks including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group led the declines.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 49.02 points, or 0.4% to 13,525.28 at its close in Tokyo a short while ago. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, the world's largest bank, with 10% more assets than closest rival Citigroup, dropped 7,000 yen, or 4.7%, to 1.42 million. Mitsui Trust Holdings, Japan's seventh-biggest lender, lost 23 yen, or 1.5%, to 1,549. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, the third largest, lost 10,000 yen, or 0.9%, to 1.06 million.
Exporters such as Toyota and Canon advanced, limiting declines, as the dollar strengthened to its highest against the yen since May 2004, helping boost the value of the overseas earnings.
Toyota gained 100 yen, or 1.9%, to 5,300 the car manufacturer, which had 60% of its sales outside Japan in the past fiscal year, gets a 25 billion yen boost in operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, for every 1 yen drop against the dollar.
Canon climbed 90 yen, or 1.5%, to 6,220. Honda the most dependent on US sales among Japan's top three car manufacturers, advanced 90 yen, or 1.4%, to 6,510. Matsushita Electric Industrial, the world's biggest maker of consumer electronics, rose 23 yen, or 1.2%, to 1,946 yen.
Among the best performers, Sanken Electric, which makes backlights for liquid crystal displays, surged 125 yen, or 9.6% to 1,428 yen.
In the US, stocks finished the week with a gain as oil prices dipped. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 16 points, closing at 10,568.IFAonline
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