FTSE banking stocks gain ground

The London market surged ahead today as banking stocks gained ground and shares hit by swine flu fears clawed back losses.

Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group drew positive comments from HSBC brokers, while British Airways was up almost 5% after falling for two days.

The wider FTSE 100 Index was 43.5 points higher at 4139.9 by mid-morning, also helped by better than expected results from oil major Royal Dutch Shell.

RBS and Lloyds found favour today after brokers said their participation in a taxpayer-backed insurance scheme for toxic debts had increased certainty over their balance sheets.

RBS was the leading blue-chip stock, up more than 12% or 4p to 36.7p, closely followed by Lloyds, up 6p to 101.6p, after HSBC lifted its target price on the pair. Barclays, also marked up by HSBC, gained 11.25p to 243.75p.

Investors returned to stocks set back by swine flu concerns in recent sessions. BA added 6.4p to 149.7p, or 4%, while travel firms Thomas Cook and TUI Travel gained 3.75p to 269.5p and 5.25p to 258.5p respectively.

Drugs firm GlaxoSmithKline, which previously advanced on hopes of increased demand for its Relenza product, eased back 2p to 1046p today.

Retail shares were also on the back foot led by Argos owner Home Retail Group. The firm shed 10.25p to 259.75p after full-year profits fell by almost a quarter and it said it expected further margin pressure this year.

Tesco was down 8.9p to 339p after figures yesterday afternoon showed another fall in its market share, down to 30.6% and 0.5% below a year ago.

Royal Dutch Shell shares were 2p higher at 1512p after the oil major reported better-than-expected first quarter results, although the haul of £2.2bn (€2.45bn) was still 58% lower than a year earlier.

Rival BP was 2.25p down at 481.25p following its own results on Tuesday.

More in this Section

Credit Unions to push new government for more reformsCredit Unions to push new government for more reforms

Investors spy an open goal with Italian soccer's reconstructionInvestors spy an open goal with Italian soccer's reconstruction

UK retail job losses: 24,000 and risingUK retail job losses: 24,000 and rising

Brian Keegan: Businesses approaching Brexit looking for opportunities may do well in the long runBrian Keegan: Businesses approaching Brexit looking for opportunities may do well in the long run


Lifestyle

Liz O’Brien talks to Niall Breslin about his admiration for frontline staff, bereavement in lockdown, his new podcast, and why it's so important for us all just to slow down.Niall Breslin talks about losing his uncle to coronavirus

Podcasts are often seen as a male domain — see the joke, 'What do you call two white men talking? A podcast'.Podcast corner: Three new podcasts from Irish women that you should listen to

Esther McCarthy previews some of the Fleadh’s Irish and international offerings.How to attend the Galway Film Fleadh from the comfort of your own couch

Whether you’re on staycation or risking a trip away, Marjorie Brennan offers suggestions on novels for a wide variety of tastesThe best fiction books for the beach and beyond this summer

More From The Irish Examiner