The FTSE 100 has opened higher this morning with a rise of 21.7 points, or 0.40%, to 5,445.2, thanks to a good showing from the banking sector, although home improvement stocks were hit after a profit warning from Travis Perkins.
Travis Perkins, a building materials group, has fallen 151p, or 10.69%, to 1,262p, as it said market conditions had worsened significantly in recent weeks. Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q home-improvement stores, also fell 8p, or 3.66%, to 210.5p, while plumbing and heating equipment supplier Wolseley has slipped 11p, or 0.92%, to 1,185p.
In the banking sector, the Royal Bank of Scotland has jumped 28p, or 1.71%, to 1,662p, while Lloyds TSB advanced 7.75p, or 1.67%, to 471p, after renewed reports that it was discussing a possible merger of its asset management unit with Fortis.
Elsewhere, hotels group Hilton is also making ground as it advanced 3.25p, or 0.92%, to 356p, after UBS raised its price target on the stock.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 Stock Average soared 74.18 points, or 0.53%, to 14,155.06 at its close a short time ago, after a government report showed the world's second-largest economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter.
A government report revealed Japan's economy grew at an annual pace of 1.7%, beating economists expectations by 0.6%.
Mizuho, Japan's second-largest bank by assets, advanced 12,000 yen, or 1.4%, to 846,000 yen, as the company announced net income had probably risen 41% to 330bn yen for the six months ended September 30.
Other banks also gained on the expectation that an economic recovery at home will help them cut their bad loans and extend lending. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the world's largest lender by assets, advanced 10,000 yen, or 0.7%, to 1.56m yen, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, the third-largest bank in Japan, added 10,000 yen, or 0.9%, to 1.15m yen.
Retailers also advanced as a separate government report showed Japan's households became less pessimistic in October as wages rose and job prospects improved, suggesting consumer spending may keep contributing to growth at home.
Aeon, Japan's second-largest retailer, climbed 65 yen, or 2.5%, to 2,640, while Fast Retailing, Japan's biggest casual clothing chain, rose 220 yen, or 2.8%, to 8,130.
Energy-related shares including Nippon Oil declined along with the price of oil. As crude oil for December delivery fell to $57.75 a barrel, Nippon Oil, Japan's biggest refiner, dropped 22 yen, or 2.6%, to 841, while TonenGeneral Sekiyu K.K., the Japanese refining unit of Exxon Mobil, lost 16 yen, or 1.3, to 1,254 yen.
In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 93.89 points, or 0.89%, to 10,640.10 after a record Treasury auction pushed bond yields lower, raising hopes that interest rates will follow.
The auction of 10-year Treasury notes attracted a record level of indirect bids, which include foreign central banks. The auction came as a relief to investors who were worried after two auctions of shorter-term bond earlier this week failed to attract intense foreign demand.
Elsewhere, Target, the nation's No. 2 discount chain, rose $2.29 to $58.85 after its third quarter earnings beat expectations. Wal-Mart also jumped $0.84 to $49.04, while Costco advanced $1.41 to $50.06.
Other gains were made by Microsoft which rose $0.13 to close at $27.09 a share, and Boeing, which also gained $1.39 to end at $66.10.
Meanwhile, as the price of crude oil fell $1.13 to $57.75 a barrel, energy companies saw a sharp drop in share prices. Exxon Mobil fell $1.05 to $56.45, while BP dropped $1.30 to $64.30 and ConocoPhillips slipped $2.20 to $63.39.IFAonline
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