The FTSE 100 index is down 17.9 points, or 0.29%, to 6,141.9, as attention is focused on the US interest rate meeting which starts today.
Reuters Group is the biggest drag on the index in early trading with a drop of 1.84% to 452.25p, closely followed by ICAP which is down 1.76% to 460p, while Standard Chartered has slipped 1.67% to £14.69.
BP has also slipped 1.45% to 576p, closely followed by Drax which is down 1.43% to 826p, although losses are being limited by insurer Resolution which has bounced back from yesterday’s fall with a rise of 1.02% to 644p.
ICI is posting the biggest gains so far with a rise of 2.01% to 432p, closely followed by Tesco which is up 1.62% to 392p, while miner Lonmin has gained 1.21% to £31.78, and Shire has climbed 1.08% to £10.77.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 109.79, or 0.7%, to 16,637.78, as stocks advanced after the yen weakened against the dollar and dropped to a record low against the euro, boosting exporters' sales.
Toyota, the world's No. 2 carmaker, climbed 90 yen, or 1.3%, to 7,230, closely followed by Canon, the world's biggest seller of digital cameras, which rose 30 yen, or 0.5%, to 6,470., while Sony, which made about 70% of its sales outside Japan in the last financial year, jumped 100 yen, or 2.1%, to 4,790.
Meanwhile, lenders advanced on speculation the Bank of Japan's Tankan quarterly survey of business confidence will show an improvement, causing Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's second-biggest lender by assets, to rise 11,000 yen, or 1.3%, to 846,000, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group jumped 20,000 yen, or 1.7%, to 1.23 million.
Steelmakers dropped, however, after reaching a 15-year high yesterday on the view that the shares have risen too far, too fast. Nippon Steel, the world's second-largest maker of the alloy, lost 10 yen, or 1.8%, to 560, while Daido Steel, Japan's largest specialty steelmaker, slipped 19 yen, or 2.4%, to 766.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended yesterday with a rise of 20.99 points, or 0.17%, to 12,328.48, although the advance was limited ahead of today’s interest rate decision.
JP Morgan Chase posted the biggest gains with a rise of 1.69% to $47.55, closely followed by General Motors which climbed 1.35% to $29.98, while Hewlett-Packard rose 1.14% to $40.01.
Du Pont also performed well with a rise of 1.11% to $47.42, closely followed by Verizon Communications which climbed 1.08% to $35.69, although gains were limited by McDonalds which fell 0.41% to $43.58.
American Express was the biggest drag on the index with a drop of 0.87% to $59.31, closely followed by Wal-Mart which slipped 0.76% to $46, while Honeywell International fell 0.66% to $42.20, and Caterpillar declined 0.52% to $63.07.IFAonline
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