UK stocks have recovered slightly from a slip yesterday, sending the FTSE 100 index up about 17 points to 4,822 this morning.
Insurers are doing well, with Royal & Sun Alliance up 2.50p to 83.50p, continuing a good run, and Friends Provident up 4p to 163p.
Standard Chartered has shed 14p to 956.50p, while British Land is down 8p to 856p.
Japanese stocks advanced earlie today, led by shipping companies Mitsui O.S.K Lines and Nippon Yusen after the government prepared to drop the cost for shipping companies using the nation's major ports.
The Port and Harbour Bureau revealed it will cut fees at major container ports by as much as 40% to compete with Northeast Asian counterparts.
Mitsui O.S.K added 1.8% to 622 yen, while Nippon Yusen K.K picked up 2.5% to 570 yen.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average index rose 0.5% to 11,492.26 at its close.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, the third- ranking shipping line increased 2.6% to 672 yen.
In the US, the Dow Jones shed 32.95 points to 10,597.83 points, losing ground for the sixth day running. There is growing concern of a hike in interest rates.
General Motors, shedding $0.77 to $39.12, paced the benchmark, along with Caterpillar, down $1.80 to $92.22.
Boeing added $0.83 to $50.81.IFAonline
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