UK, european markets higher on session

Falling export stocks, hit by both a stronger yen and a less than exciting quarterly report from Nissan Motor sent the Tokyo equities markets lower on Monday. The Nikkei 225 dropped 1.1 percent to 17,344.80, while the Topix index was 1.5 percent lower to 1,716.28. The Nissan report send the rest of the auto sector lower, while the electronics sector also declined. Fast Retaling, on the other hand, was higher on a rise in same-store sales.

The FTSE Eurofirst 300 was higher, but just barely, adding only 0.7 points to close the session at 1,538.32 for a gain of 0.04 percent. The energy sector was lower on more mergers & acquisitions news and banks were hurt by profit-taking, while airlines were higher.

In London, the FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent to 6,317.9, helped out by oil and telecommunications shares. The FTSE 200 was also higher, gaining 0.6 percent to 11,406.5 on bids news in the house building sector. The oil sector also saw gains after an upgrade of BP by Goldman Sachs.

Wall Street was mixed in mid-afternoon trade, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 0.1 percent to 12,666.63, boosted by Wal-Marta��s gain on better than expected sales in January. The Nasdaq Composite, however, dropped 0.2 percent to 2,471.86 and the S&P 500 was down 0.1 percent to 1,446.91. Trade was mostly driven by earnings reports and bids news.

Crude oil prices were up slightly, nearing a return to $60 per barrel, as cold weather continued in much of the United States and heating oil demand is expected to reach 20 percent above normal for the time of year. Heating oil and natural gas both also gained in price. Metals prices were mixed but mostly higher, with nickel being the main faller after gaining early in the session.

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