European stock exchanges edged higher at the close, with the London FTSE 100 index ending the day with a gain of 0.41% at 6,306 points.

BAE Systems gained 3.2% to top the index leaderboard after it entered into talks on a 'sole source' basis with the US Department of Defence about supplying 10,000 medium-weight military trucks.

In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 0.53% to reach 5,508, while in Frankfurt the Dax finished at 7,473 points, up 0.2%.

In New York, stocks were little changed as investors awaited US data on oil inventories, while oil prices extended a rise to record highs, potentially straining consumer spending and corporate profits.

The Dow Jones slipped 0.08% to 13,319 points and the Nasdaq drifted down 0.03% to 2,605.

In Dublin, the ISEQ closed down 0.65% points at 8107, with drinks group C&C a big gainer.

Shares in C&C Group were up 4.2% as talk resurfaced today that SABMiller or Scottish & Newcastle could make a bid for the company.

Traders play down the takeover talk saying it has been around for some months, but add that there is also talk C&C wants to seal a distribution deal with a UK brewer for its products, which includes the Magners cider brand.

'I would not read much into the rumours and there is a bit of short covering going on,' one Dublin-based trader said.

Irish Life & Permanent was a big loser, shedding 72 points to end the day at €16.25.

US oil prices rose above $79 a barrel, supporting index heavyweight Total and Royal Dutch Shell.

Airline stocks fell due to the higher oil price, with Lufthansa and Air France KLM down nearly 3.5%.

Earlier, in Tokyo the Nikkei-225 index closed down 0.5% to 15,797 on the back of Shinzo Abe's resignation.

Conversely, Hong Kong share prices closed at a record high as property stocks posted strong gains on growing hopes for an interest rate cut in the US next week. The Hang Seng closed up 1.49% at a record 24,310.