In the UK the FTSE 100 Index has added 5.2 points, or 0.1% to 5291.7 at its opening as stocks, including Rio Tinto, rose as commodity prices climbed.
Copper futures jumped to a record in Shanghai as global inventories declined and demand increased in China, the world's biggest user of the metal.
Rio Tinto, the third-biggest mining company, rose 3.1% to 2,261p. BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, added 1.8%, to 832.5p.
Corus, Britain's biggest steelmaker, also added 1.75p, or 3.6%, to 50p. Credit Suisse raised its European steel industry recommendation to "overweight" from "market weight" on expectations that profits will increase.
But among the early losers, AstraZeneca, the UK's second-largest drugmaker, fell 67p, or 2.5%, to 2,600p after it said Ranbaxy Laboratories had applied to US regulators to make a copycat version of the ulcer treatment Nexium, its best-selling product.
AstraZeneca has 45 days to file a lawsuit against Ranbaxy that would stop the FDA from approving the request for 30 months or until an adverse court decision.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell for a fifth day, completing its longest losing streak in five months. The Nikkei fell 48.05 points, or 0.4%, to 13,352.24 at its close a short time ago as Fast Retailing and Advantest led the drop on concerns a US inflation report will encourage the Federal Reserve to keep raising interest rates.
The Nikkei's heaviest-weighted stocks led the decline by the benchmark. Fast Retailing, the fourth biggest, slipped 170 yen, or 2.1%, to 8,100. Advantest, the second biggest, sank 130 yen, or 1.5%, to 8,850, while Fanuc, the biggest, lost 120 yen, or 1.3%, to 9,040.
But steelmakers advanced after Nippon Steel & Sumikin Stainless, Japan's largest stainless steelmaker, said it will keep prices of nickel-based steel sheets unchanged this month even as demand for Japanese stainless steel is falling.
Nippon Steel, the nation's largest steelmaker, surged 28 yen, or 7.1%, to 420. Nippon Mining, Japan's largest copper smelter and third-largest refiner, advanced 16 yen, or 2%, to 819. Sumitomo Metal Industries, the nation's third-largest steelmaker, jumped 22 yen, or 5.8%, to 402, while JFE Holdings, the second largest, climbed 140 yen, or 4%, to 3,650.
Among the biggest decliners, Tokyo Broadcasting, Japan's third-biggest broadcaster, plunged by the daily exchange-imposed limit of 500 yen to 3,050. The 14% slump was the biggest of the day.
Mitsubishi Motors, Japan's fifth-largest carmaker, surged 21 yen, or 8.8%, to 259. It was the most active stock by value, with 110 billion yen in shares changing hands.
The carmaker said it may sell its "i" minicar in Europe and other overseas markets amid rising oil price. Global demand for compact cars is increasing as higher fuel costs are prompting consumers to pick smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma dropped 41 yen, or 3.2%, to 1,240 after Pfizer's UK and Panama units took legal action against its parent Sumitomo Chemical seeking the return of medical data and statistics for a licensed drug.
In the US, stocks rose as the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 60.76 points, or 0.59%, at 10,348.10 with boosts from Altria Group and General Motors.
Shares of Altria, the parent company of cigarette maker Philip Morris, gained 6.1% to $74.96 after a favourable court ruling.
The US Supreme Court rejected a Justice Department appeal in the government's racketeering case against cigarette makers. The decision could save the industry from paying $280bn in penalties.
Shares of General Motors climbed 7.5% to $30.09 in its biggest gain since June, after the carmaker said it had reached a deal with the United Auto Workers union to cut health-care costs. GM also reported a wider-than-expected loss for the third quarter.
Shares of energy companies like ConocoPhillips got a boost from the increase in oil prices. Crude oil, for November delivery, climbed $1.73 to settle at $64.36 a barrel, on forecasts that Tropical Storm Wilma would strengthen into a hurricane near the Gulf of Mexico. ConocoPhillips jumped 1.1%, or $0.69, to $63.02.
Citigroup, the world's largest financial services company, saw its stock slip 0.5%, or $0.23, to $44.81 after it said profit from continuing operations had fallen.
Other financial services stocks rose. Charles Schwab, the largest US discount brokerage, gained 1.6%, or $0.21, to $13.34 after the company posted a profit in the third quarter, reversing a loss a year ago.
Widely traded Apple Computer shares fell 1%, or $0.56, to $53.44. The decline was a pullback from the computer maker's sharp gains last week.IFAonline
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From 6 April 2019