The FTSE 100 is slightly up in early trading with a rise of 1.5 points, or 0.02%, to 6,419.3, as bid speculation seems to be having little impact on investors.
Marks & Spencer Group is leading the risers with gains of 2.45% to 712p, closely followed by Xstrata which is up 1.67% to £28.03, on news it is selling its aluminium assets to private equity firm Apollo Management for $1.15bn in cash.
Severn Trent has also gained 1.3% to £14.84, and BP has added 0.9% to 559.5p, while Alliance Boots has climbed 0.92% to £10.45, on reports Terra Firma Partners and Wellcome Trust have appointed a financial adviser for a possible £10bn-plus bid for the company.
However miner Kazakhmys is the biggest loser with a fall of 4.18% to £11.69, following Y K Cha's announcement that he intends to sell his remaining 4.5% of the miner, while insurer Friends Provident has slipped 2.28% to 193p.
Property companies are also down in early trading, with Hammerson falling 2.57% to £16.68, closely followed by Land Securities which has slipped 1.5% to 321.65, while British Land has declined 1.39% to £15.60.
In Japan the Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 5.38 points to end at 17,670.07, as shares gained, led by rail operators after a broker recommendation.
East Japan Railway, Japan's biggest rail operator, known as JR East, surged 36,000 yen, or 3.9%, to 966,000, while Nippon Telegraph & Telephone, Japan's biggest phone company, gained 6,000 yen, or 1%, to 616,000.
KDDI, the nation's second-largest wireless network operator, advanced 27,000 yen, or 2.7%, to 1.02 million, while Tokyo Electric Power, the largest utility in the country, rose 30 yen, or 0.7%, to 4,100.
Elpida Memory, Japan's biggest maker of memory for personal computers, declined 110 yen, or 2.2%, to 4,890, while Advantest, the world's biggest maker of memory-chip testing equipment, fell 50 yen, or 0.9%, to 5,600, and Toshiba dropped 10 yen, or 1.1%, to 876.
Mitsubishi Heavy, which makes ships and industrial machinery, climbed 13 yen, or 1.7%, to 778 after it said it will spend about 4 billion yen to complete expansion of wind-power business by March 2009.
In the US the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended yesterday’s session up 4.71 points, or 0.04%, to 12,573.85, following a lack of any serious economic news.
Intel posted the biggest gains with a rise of 2.89% to $20.68, closely followed by Exxon Mobil which climbed 1% to $77.57, while Coca-Cola advanced 0.91% to $50.08, and Boeing added 0.9% to $90.84.
JP Morgan Chase climbed 0.49% to $49.24, although gains were limited by United Technologies which declined 0.94% to $64.45, while Du Pont ended the session down 1.03% to $49.17.
However Hewlett-Packard was the biggest loser with a fall of 1.5% to $40.72, closely followed by Wal-Mart Stores which slipped 1.09% to $47.94, while Microsoft declined 0.6% to $28.40.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Nyree Stewart on 020 7034 2681 or email [email protected]IFAonline
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