The FTSE 100 was up 0.18% to 5,204.65 in early trading as bid activity in the financial sector boosted the index.
Old Mutual's shares soared on news it had received an offer from HSBC for up to 70% of South African bank Nedbank. It was up 4.55% to 126.5p.
Other early morning risers included BHP Billiton, advancing 1.29% to £18.44, while Cairn Energy rose 1.28% to 466p.
Meanwhile, SABMiller led index fallers, down 1.16% to £18.29, followed by BP which dropped 0.99% to 384.5p.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones fell 0.56% or 57.59 points to 10,213.62 on persistent concerns the recovery has tapered off.
Thursday's gloomy jobs and regional manufacturing data remained in the forefront as investors debated how much the recovery could slow.
In Japan, the Nikkei slipped to a nine month low, closing down 0.68% or 62.69 points to 9,116.69.
Concerns over the pace of economic recovery and the impact of the strong yen impacted trading.
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