The FTSE 100 Index has risen 5.3 points, or 0.1%, to 5585.10 this morning led by oil majors such as BP and Shell.
BP has climbed 8p, or 1.2%, to 690p after Citigroup raised its price forecast to 725p from 720p, while Shell has advanced 1.50% to 2,032p.
Friends Provident has risen 3.47% to 201p after reporting it enjoyed a buoyant final quarter with particularly strong growth on the international stage.
The group says total life and pensions new business for 2005 increased by 70% to £5.39bn compared with £3.18bn a year earlier. Total International new business went up 311% to £2.21bn.
But Centrica has paced the declining shares, slipping 2.5p, or 0.9%, to 268.5p. Lehman Brothers Holdings has cut its recommendation on the shares to "underweight" from "equal weight".
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed above 16,600 for the first time in five and a half years, rising 0.60% after Kyocera surged on a higher quarterly profit.
The Nikkei finished the day up 98.59 points at 16,649.82, its best finish since September 2000.
Shares in the electronics parts maker Kyocera jumped 9.5% to 10,450 yen after earlier hitting their highest level in almost five years. The company posted a higher quarterly profit on Monday, helped by improved profitability at its US mobile phone business.
Consumer finance company Aiful rose 6.9% to 7,920 yen after brokerage Nikko Citigroup raised its rating on the company on Monday, citing attractive valuations after a recent sell-off.
Shares in Nippon Steel also advanced 0.7% to 434 yen after the world's third-largest steel maker reported an 84% rise in net profit for the nine months to December.
But JFE Holdings, the world's fourth-largest steel maker, fell 2.1% to 4,210 yen. The firm said on Tuesday its net profit for the first nine months of the business year accounted for more than 81% of its target for the full year to March.
And trading company Mitsubishi, which hit a lifetime high during the morning, turned negative after it said it more than tripled its third-quarter profits but it would not raise its full-year forecast. Mitsubishi finished down 0.7% at 2,740 yen, after earlier hitting 2,815 yen.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 7.29 points, or 0.07%, to end at 10,899.92 with bank and insurance shares dropping a day before the Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates and offsetting Exxon Mobil's gain on a record profit.
Shares of AIG, the largest US insurance company, lost 0.9% to $66.07 and was among the biggest drags on the Dow, which snapped last week's back-to-back gains.
The Dow also felt the weight of Altria Group whose shares fell 1.1% to $73.91, a day before the big tobacco and food company reports its fourth-quarter earnings. Altria was the Dow's biggest loser.
Shares of Bank of America also fell 0.7%, or 32 cents, to $44.48.
But the Dow's loss was limited by shares of Exxon, which climbed 3% to $63.11. The oil company said quarterly profit topped $10bn.
The stock of building products company USG was the top percentage gainer, up 20%, or $15.93, to $95.78 after the company said it had reached a $4bn asbestos settlement.IFAonline
Warns on profits
Hargreave Hale seeking legal advice
Latest news and analysis
First mentioned in Cridland Report