I have the same problem, but when I try to update footer.php to replace the other '<' it doesn't keep my change, upon saving if I reopen the file it reverts back to how it was.  Any Ideas?

I have the PM working properly on 1.2.6, however since I had to edit the footer.php file, I noticed an issue on my site.  Just above the footer a "<" appears on the page anytime I make any type of edit to footer.php.  The change could be as simple and changing the spelling of the Copyright Name. 

Anyone else have this problem?  I haven't noticed anything in the code that should cause that.   You can see what I'm talkin about below: