In London, shares gained after a major crude oil finding was announced, but a number of losses meant the FTSE 100 added just 1.5 points (0.02%) to 6,217.
Tullow Oil shares closed up 183.5p (24.14%) to 943.5p after the firm found oil off the coast of Ghana, while BG Group added 89 points (7.06%) to £13.50.
Shire shares slid 42.5 points (4.62%) to 876.5p, while Home Retail followed close behind, dropping 11.75 points (4.41%) to 254.75p.
On Wall Street, shares fell in early trading after a mortgage finance firm, Fannie Mae, revealed lower than expected profits and the Dow Jones slid 56.35 points (0.43%) to 12,913.19.
Alcoa shares added 0.61 (1.65%) to $37.50 as optimism about commodities increased, while Microsoft added 0.34 (1.17%) to $29.43 after dropping its takeover offer for Yahoo.
Home Depot shares dropped 0.57 (1.94%) to $28.80 as US consumers curb their spending, while AT&T lost 0.77 (1.94%) to $39.08.
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Think tank report
Taking the time to look
After 14-month FAS programme
More than half of people over the age of 55 see financial security as a top priority in retirement, yet a third allocate more time to buying a new car, research from Legal & General (L&G) has found.
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