The FTSE 100 was up 28.4 points, 0.5 % to 6,127.6 as utilities are once again making their way up the FTSE 100 leaderboard, with Severn Trent and and Kelda Group both 1.9% higher at £11.97 and 786p respectively.
BP has reported first quarter replacement cost profit down 4% to $5.265bn. The result included a net non-operating charge of $17m compared with a net non-operating gain of $542m in the first quarter of 2005.
The world’s second largest oil company says its Texas City refinery, which has been closed for repairs following an explosion and hurricane damage, is now running at 200,000 barrels per day. Profit reduction as a result of the Texas City closure, including the impact on associated businesses, was some $650m.
Shares in the oil giant are down 0.6% to 708p following the results. The price of crude oil $2 drop from its highs of Monday above $75 are also weighing on oil stocks.
Tesco has reported a 16.7% increase in annual group profit before tax to £2.21bn but slower like-for-like sales growth in January. Fourth quarter like-for-like sales growth, excluding petrol, was 4.9%.
The UK supermarket chain says up to £5bn cash is to be released from property over the next five years with £1.5bn to be used to buy-back shares.
Tesco shares are flat at 326.75p in early trading.
In Japan stocks rose led by companies such as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group that benefit from domestic growth, as investors shifted their funds to shares shielded from the effect of currency fluctuations.
Exporter stocks fell after the dollar dropped by the most in over four months against the yen in New York. Companies that rely on US sales such as Canon paced declines.
Benchmarks swung between gains and losses with the Nikkei 225 Stock Average adding 55.89 points, or 0.3%, to close at 16,970.29 a short while ago, after falling as much as 0.8% during the day.
Consumer finance companies advanced after Orix raised its unconsolidated full-year profit forecast 83% and Promise said it expects to return to profit in the financial year ending March 2007.
Banks led gains by stocks most dependent on domestic demand. Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's largest lender, rose 30,000 yen, or 1.7%, to 1.83m. Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's second-largest bank by assets, gained 8,000 yen, or 0.8%, to 984,000.
Isetan, a department-store operator, advanced 65 yen, or 2.8%, to 2,370. Japan's department store sales rose 0.7% to 7.9trn yen ($69bn) in the 12 months to 31st March, the Japan Department Store Association in Tokyo said yesterday. It was the first annual gain in nine years.
Exporters fell after the dollar dropped. A weaker US currency means Japanese exporters get less in local currency for their dollar-denominated sales.
Canon, the world's biggest maker of copier machines and digital cameras, fell 250 yen, or 2.9%, to 8,400. Advantest, the world's biggest maker of memory-chip testing equipment, declined 260 yen, or 1.9%, to 13,240. Honda, Japan's third-biggest car manufacturer, lost 80 yen, or 1%, to 7,740.
Orix, Japan's largest non-bank financial firm, rose 550 yen, or 1.6%, to 34,750, after raising its parent-basis profit estimate to 33bn yen for the year to 31st March.
Promise advanced 210 yen, or 3.2%, to 6,780. Japan's third-biggest consumer lender said it expects to post profit of 51.6bn yen in the year to March 2007. It reported a group net loss of 6.2bn yen for the three months to 31st March, the biggest quarterly loss in three years.
Meanwhile Wall Street closed lower Monday on concerns about the weak dollar and high oil prices, triggering investors to eat into some of the profits from last week's gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down11 points to 11,336, as the dollar is being unsettled by calls for China to raise the value of its currency, something the country is not willing to do.
The yuan surged against the dollar, which was also lower on the euro.
Caterpillar said quarterly earnings rose from the same period last year and beat forecasts. The group also raised its fiscal 2006 earnings per share expectations.
American Express saw quarterly earnings beat estimates and rise from last year, though turnover missed estimates despite being higher than last year, while Xerox fell after it said profit declined modestly last quarter.
Microsoft is slightly lower as it appeals to a special court in Europe over its anti-trust treatment by the European Commission.IFAonline
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