UK insurer Standard Life leads the gains this morning despite reporting a fall in life and pensions sales in 2009.
While UK and worldwide sales were down last year, the company's shares are up 3.2% to 204p after it posted better-than-expected sales of £4.2bn in Q4.
However, its rise has not lifted the FTSE 100, which is flat in early trading, at 5275.08 points, only 0.2% off its close yesterday.
Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland are also gaining ground following Bank of America Merrill Lynch 'buy' recommendations. Barclays is up 1.8% to 295p, while RBS rose 1.6% to 36.7p.
Shares in software provider Autonomy have fallen by 2.1% to £15.36, despite reporting full-year sales growth of 47%.
In the US overnight, the Dow Jones closed up 1.1%, or 111.3 points, to 10,296.
It was driven upwards by data from the National Association of Realtors, which showed pending US home sales rose 1%. It has also been buoyed by figures suggesting 80% of the US corporate earnings reports released since mid-January have beaten analyst estimates.
General Electric led the way yesterday, up 3.7% to $16.85.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 climbed 0.3%, or 33.2 points, to 10,404.32, buoyed by US market confidence.
Japanese carmaker Nissan rose 1.2% after reporting a 16% increase in US sales.
'No viable alternative'
Assist customers to get better deal
3 March 2020
CIO Stephen Jones will take up UK duties on an interim basis
Should discuss with their clients