By the midday mark the Footsie was continuing to trade slightly higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street and in Tokyo.
The latter came in response to news that Bank of Japan Governor, Masaaki Shirakawa, will step down on March 19th, almost three weeks ahead of schedule, which some observers interpreted as favouring the new Prime Minister's calls for a more aggressive monetary policy.
All of the above comes ahead of tomorrow's testimony by Mark Carney before the Treasury Select Committee and policy meetings at the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.
Not to be lost sight of, investors are also watching what appear to be signs of division between France and southern Europe, on the one hand, and Germany and the UK on the other, ahead of tomorrow's European Council. European leaders are expected to try to find an agreement on the European Budget for 2014-2020.
Commenting on those differences, this is what Barclays Research had to say: "This negative signal, together with recent fears of political instability in Spain and in Italy, suggest that Europe is not yet out of the crisis, even though the ECB's threat of triggering the OMT should prevent a massive sell-off like in the first half of 2012."
Further muddying the waters, overnight ratings agency Fitch cut its outlook on the Netherlands' sovereign debt rating.
FTSE 100: Keep them coming says Hargreaves
In UK company news, financial service company Hargreaves Lansdown on Wednesday posted record revenues and profits for the last half of 2012 driven by a boost in client numbers. Those prompted an upgrade out of Cannacord to buy.
FTSE 100-listed metal mining company Eurasian Natural Resources is higher following the release of its fourth quarter production update. The fourth quarter Kazhak iron ore operations saw a strong rebound. Coal was another area of strength according to analysts, while the fall in copper output was due to power issues in the DRC.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has announced a core fourth quarter earnings per share number of 32.6p, versus the 30.9p expected by the analyst consensus.
Shares of Schroders are rising strongly following an upgrade out of analysts at Morgan Stanley, to overweight.
Unilever, on the other hand, is leading losers this morning after going ex-dividend.
ARM Holdings is off a tad following yesterday's surge and after at least three brokers (Investec, UBS and JP Morgan) opted to retain their 'neutral' rating on the stock. Analysts at the last of these three brokers said that "valuation remains elevated in our view, but as long as the company does not miss, we believe the stock will go up on upgrades."
RBS has announced that it is in late stage settlement discussions with regulators and that it will update the market 'shortly', although it sees significant penalties and sanctions.
FTSE 250: WS Atkins trading 'in line'
Analysts at UBS have added shares
of Man to their "most preferred" list, saying that "We are adding Man Group to our most preferred list. Following December's change of leadership, we believe that management could announce material strategic changes on February 28th (fiscal year results). A review of the company's distribution capabilities (downsizing and/or adding product at minimal cost) looks likely. Long term, we believe a sale of the company remains a possibility."
Engineering and product management consultancy Atkins on Wednesday said it was trading in line with expectations despite challenging market conditions. The FTSE 250 company has faced difficult trading conditions over the past three months, particularly in North America, according to a business update.
International home emergency business HomeServe has reported that it expects its New Markets segment to report a fiscal year 2013 operating loss of approximately £5.5m, representing a 61.8% rise in loss for this particular business segment compared to the fiscal year 2012, when the New Markets business reported a £3.4m loss.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 799.00p +8.78%
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 367.00p +6.62%
Schroders (SDR) 2,005.00p +3.19%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 220.80p +2.65%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,425.00p +2.52%
Pearson (PSON) 1,224.00p +2.26%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 740.00p +2.00%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,135.00p +1.98%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,059.00p +1.88%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,205.00p +1.77%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Unilever (ULVR) 2,554.00p -1.66%
BP (BP.) 463.75p -1.06%
Aviva (AV.) 353.60p -1.06%
Rexam (REX) 464.20p -0.81%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,902.00p -0.47%
Barclays (BARC) 294.00p -0.42%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 2,200.00p -0.34%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,249.50p -0.29%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 170.75p -0.29%
SSE (SSE) 1,411.00p -0.28%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 270.40p +7.47%
ICAP (IAP) 359.70p +6.17%
Enterprise Inns (ETI) 100.50p +6.07%
Man Group (EMG) 95.80p +5.56%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 487.60p +4.52%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 272.40p +4.17%
TalkTalk Telecom Group (TALK) 250.00p +3.31%
3i Group (III) 274.00p +3.16%
Rathbone Brothers (RAT) 1,444.00p +3.07%
Senior (SNR) 206.40p +2.99%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Victrex (VCT) 1,506.00p -2.02%
Aberforth Smaller Companies Trust (ASL) 745.00p -1.65%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 61.60p -1.52%
Invensys (ISYS) 344.70p -1.51%
Genus (GNS) 1,444.00p -1.43%
UBM (UBM) 731.00p -1.28%
Inmarsat (ISAT) 653.00p -1.21%
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 2,350.00p -1.05%
Debenhams (DEB) 97.60p -0.91%
Diploma (DPLM) 575.00p -0.86%
FTSE TechMARK - Risers
Xaar (XAR) 288.80p +3.88%
Torotrak (TRK) 24.25p +3.19%
Innovation Group (TIG) 25.00p +1.01%
Kofax (KFX) 328.00p +0.92%
Optos (OPTS) 199.00p +0.51%
RM (RM.) 72.26p +0.36%
Consort Medical (CSRT) 692.50p +0.07%
Triad Group (TRD) 7.00p 0.00%
Parity Group (PTY) 23.88p 0.00%
Hiwave Technologies (HIW) 0.72p 0.00%
FTSE TechMARK - Fallers
Wolfson Microelectronics (WLF) 187.00p -5.56%
Promethean World (PRW) 22.55p -4.04%
Phytopharm (PYM) 8.50p -2.86%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 2.20p -2.22%
Gresham Computing (GHT) 71.25p -1.72%
Ricardo (RCDO) 401.50p -1.35%
E2V Technologies (E2V) 105.75p -1.17%
Ark Therapeutics Group (AKT) 1.00p -0.50%
Sepura (SEPU) 97.00p -0.39%
Antisoma (ASM) 1.86p -0.27%