FTSE in positive territory

Investors fed from a weekend of strong press speculation to send the FTSE 100 Index back towards the 5800 barrier today.

Cable & Wireless, GUS and Lloyds TSB all featured on the risers board as the top flight defied expectations for a lacklustre session to rise 24.3 points to 5783.6 by mid-morning.

Struggling telecoms business C&W led the risers board as shares put back some of the losses seen last week after its warning that UK profitability had been deferred to 2008 at the earliest.

The rise of almost 5% – 4.5p to 101.75p – came amid reports about a possible management reshuffle and a change of strategy for internet arm Bulldog.

Argos owner GUS was another stock on the up, ahead 19.5p to 1069.5p, after the Sunday Times linked two American private equity firms to a possible £6bn (€8.7bn) move on credit checking arm Experian.

Lloyds TSB shares also benefited from speculation as investors took a further punt on the chances of it being the subject of an overseas takeover. Shares lifted 12.75p to 533.75p, while others in the banking sector also gained with Barclays up 8p to 622p and HSBC ahead 4.5p at 941.5p.

And dealings remained buoyant in the energy sector after the interest shown last week by Gazprom in British Gas owner Centrica. The development sparked International Power into life, up 6.75p at 280.25p, while Scottish & Southern Energy was ahead 19.5p to 1119p.

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