Financials and British Airways pushed the FTSE slightly higher this morning.
The UK market rose by 0.6%, or 30.4 points to 5,142.19 in early trading, as positive company news pushed selected stocks up.
Broker Icap rose by 4.3%, to 317.8p. Richard Marwood, manager of Axa Investment Managers' Ethical Distribution fund, says Icap is one of the "good beta plays" if inflation appears and boosts shares.
Lloyds Banking Group rose 4.0% to 50.14p after saying yesterday it would close its Irish retail business of 44 branches.
British Airways, whose business class-only subsidiary OpenSkies said it will add flights to Washington in May after its New York route performed well, jumped by 2.7% to 210.9p.
Software firm Autonomy Corpration fell furthest, by 5.6% to £15.19.
The next most severe falls were suffered by companies whose shares we ex-dividend.
GlaxoSmithKline fell by 1.3% to £12.02, and the A shares of Royal Dutch Shell declined by 1.1% to £17.28.
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.5% to 10,058.64 points yesterday amid expectations the US trade deficit will have shown to have narrowed in December, when the Commerce Department releases trade figures today.
Machinery manufacturer Caterpillar rose the most, by 5.4% to $53.53 while pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co fell by 0.33% to $36.47.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index closed 0.3% higher today at 9,963.99 points, as two stocks rose for every one that fell.
Among gainers, Nissan Motor Co. rose 1.6% after revising an earlier income projection for the year to 31 March, from a forecast loss to a net gain.
However, shares in Honda declined after it became the second Japanese car maker after Toyota to recall vehicles, over concerns about faults on its airbags.
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