In the UK the FTSE 100 Index leading shares added 0.6% to 5414.80, paced by shares of Friends Provident, which rose 3.9% to 180.50p amid speculation the company may be a takeover target.
Axa SA, Europe's second-biggest insurer, yesterday bought 21.5 million shares in Friends Provident, increasing its stake in the company by 1% to more than 15%. The purchase is part of the normal management of the Paris-based company's assets, Axa spokeswoman Clara Rodrigo said yesterday.
Rio Tinto, the world's third-largest mining company, added 77p, or 3.7%, to 2,147p. BHP, the biggest miner, rose 24 pence, or 2.8%, to 870.5p.
Anglo American, the world's No.2 miner, climbed 73p, or 4.9%, to 1,552p.
BP, the world's second-largest oil company, added 8p, 1.2%, to 654.5p after analysts raised the recommendation on the stock to “buy” from “hold'” and lifted the share-price forecast to 750 pence from 675 pence, citing the outlook for higher oil prices.
Kingfisher declined 2.5p, or 1.1%, to 233p. The share-price forecast for the world's third-largest home-improvement retailer was cut to 240p from 265p by analysts.
In the US, stocks have risen this morning on optimism President Bush's pledge to rebuild the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will increase earnings growth at companies such as producers of raw materials.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 30.41 points, or 0.3%, to 10,589.16.
Producers of raw materials rallied 0.7% for the benchmark's second-steepest gain among 10 industry groups. DuPont, the No. 3 US chemical manufacturer, added $0.65 to $40.75. Alcoa, the world's biggest aluminum maker, increased $0.27 to $26.65..IFAonline
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