In the UK the FTSE 100 Index is heading back in the right direction, following earlier losses incurred during the week.
The London benchmark is about 7 points to the good at 4917.80 points this morning, led by Prudential adding 18.50p or 3.8% to 496p.
The life insurer has appointed HBOS finance director Mark Tucker, as new chief executive, replacing the ousted Jonathan Bloomer.
Retail firm Next is also trading 43p higher to 1642p.
Corus Group has lost 1.25p to 55.75p, while mining firms Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have slid 27p to £17.25 and 8.50p to 717.50p respectively, after lower metal prices raised concerns that earnings growth in the industry may slow.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average remained relatively unchanged, adding 0.1% to 11,745.97 at its close early this morning.
Oil exploration firm Inpex, dropped 2.8% to 554,000 yen. Crude oil for May delivery declined 4% to $53.81 a barrel in New York, its biggest one-day decline this year.
Sony Corp also slid 1.6% to 4,310 yen after the company said it would not meet its target of 10% operating profit margin by fiscal 2006.
Sanyo Electric also lost 4.6% to 336 yen after saying it expects the largest annual loss in its 55-year history. The company has had to account for repairs to an earthquake-damaged plant.
In the US, the Dow Jones closed 14.49 points weaker to 10456.02 points late last night, led by General Motors.
The car manufacturer shed $0.88 to $28.66 amid reports it might sell a stake in its commercial mortgage unit.
Johnson & Johnson meanwhile, picked up $1.41 to $68.20, while Intel Corp added $0.37 to $23.39.IFAonline
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