UK stocks have reversed some of yesterday's losses, sending the FTSE 100 Index up about 14 points to 4,837.
Insurer Friends Provident and mortgage lender Northern Rock lead with respective gains of 2.75p to 161.50p and 12p to 779.50p.
Mobile phone companies, MMO2 and Vodafone are also up 1.75p apiece to 127.75p and 139p.
Imperial Tobacco group meanwhile, has shed 39p to 1,411p, while high street chemist Boots, has lost 16p to 643.50p, after its third quarter earnings were at the bottom end of analyst estimates.
In the US, the Dow Jones marched 70.79 points higher to 10628.79 points at its close late last night, boosted by good profit earnings reports from major computer brands.
Both IBM and Yahoo! posted profit and sales above analysts' estimates, while Microsoft reports its fiscal second-quarter results on 27 January, and is expected to beat analyst estimates.
Boeing and Hewlett Packard closed trading as the day’s biggest movers, adding $0.97 to $51.88 and $0.36 to $20.43.
3M Company shed $1.95 to $82.02.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.2% to 11,405.34 after the Bank of Japan reported that growth in the economy next fiscal year would not reach the 1.5% target predicted last October, after electronics manufacturers slashed production to reduce stockpiles.
Murata, the world's biggest maker of ceramic capacitors used to regulate electricity in mobile phone handsets, shed 1.3% to 5,410 yen.IFAonline
Annual, tapered, money purchase …
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