Markets in Europe inched up in early Thursday trading. London's FTSE (+0.66%) lead the way. The French CAC (+0.56%) and German Dax (+0.35%) were also up as of 7:12 a.m. ET.
Shares of Johnson Matthey jumped 7.2% on rumors of a bid for the platinum specialist after the Financial Times reported the firm may be a target for Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW). Energy shares were up on rising crude prices (RDS.A +0.8%), (BP +0.3%). Banks RBS (NYSE:RBS) and HSBC (HBC) were up 0.9% and 0.8%. Volatile Northern Rock was down 3.4%. Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) added 1.5% and Prudential (PKU) was up 2%.
"It's been a bit of a dreary ending to the year," said Brewin Dolphin strategist Mike Lenhoff, adding 2008 may be better. "I really feel quite convinced that lower interest rates will limit the downside," he said.
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