The FTSE 100 has started the session up 40.6 points, or 0.66%, to 6,171.2 in early trading, as positive results news and increased bid speculation in the financial sector is pushing the index higher.
Wolseley is posting the biggest gains so far with a rise of 3.5% to £12.41, closely followed by Prudential which is up 3.37% to 704.5p, while hedge fund manger Man Group has climbed 2.62% to 539.5p.
Lloyds TSB is up 3% to 550p, on reports rival bank Barclays is in talks with the Dutch firm ABN, while brewer Whitbread has gained 2.95% to £17.46, although gains are being limited by Tate & Lyle which is down 0.91% to 545p.
Unilever is the biggest loser so far with a fall of 1.44% to £15.03, closely followed by Imperial Tobacco Group which has slipped 1.2% to £23.02, while Morrison is down 0.78% to 316p, and Royal Dutch Shell has declined 0.49% to £16.21.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 265.40, or 1.6%, to 17,009.55 at the 3pm close, led by exporters after the yen reversed an earlier advance against the dollar and euro, easing concerns the value of overseas sales will drop.
Toyota, the world's second-biggest automaker, rose 60 yen, or 0.8%, to 7,670, while Sony, the world's biggest maker of video-game players, jumped 150 yen, or 2.5%, to 6,150, and Honda Motor, Japan's No. 2 automaker by sales, gained 40 yen, or 1%, to 4,130.
NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile-phone operator, climbed 4,000 yen, or 1.9%, to 212,000, while Nippon Telegraph & Telephone gained 9,000 yen, or 1.5%, to 604,000, and Takeda Pharmaceutical advanced 100 yen, or 1.3%, to 7,660.
Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan’s largest lender by assets, dropped 20,000 yen, or 1.5%, to 1.28 million, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group fell 10,000 yen, or 0.9%, to 1.05 million, Advantest climbed 150 yen, or 2.9%, to 5,370, and Canon advanced 180 yen, or 2.9%, to 6,440.
Elsewhere, Nippon Building Fund, the nation's largest Real Estate Investment Trust (Reit), surged 80,000 yen, or 4.8%, to 1.76 million, while Japan Real Estate Investment jumped 80,000 yen, or 5.8%, to 1.45 million, and Orix JREIT soared 61,000 yen, or 6.5%, to 1 million.
In the US on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 49.27 points, or 0.41%, to 12,110.41, as data on inflation and industrial production were higher than expected.
JP Morgan Chase was the biggest loser with a fall of 1.4% to $47.03, closely followed by Alcoa which slipped 1.18% to $33.48, while Exxon Mobil declined 1.17% to $69.86 and Boeing dropped 1.14% to $90.
American Express also fell 1% to $55.55, although losses were slightly limited by retail chain Wal-Mart which climbed 0.46% to $46.21, while Coca-Cola advanced 0.28% to $47.21.
Technology stocks also performed well with Hewlett-Packard making the biggest gains with a rise of 0.53% to $39.91, closely followed by United Technologies which advanced 0.31% to $64.60, while Microsoft climbed 0.18% to $27.33.
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
View from the front row
Project Libra unveiled
Including SJP and investment trusts
Spent two years at Sanlam
Will also assess FCA's actions