Bank stocks help Footsie rise

The FTSE 100 Index is up 25.9 points at 3855.3 by mid-morning.

The FTSE 100 Index is up 25.9 points at 3855.3 by mid-morning.

Royal Bank of Scotland rose 16p to 1455p, HBOS edged up 4.5p at 629.5p while Barclays was up 0.25p at 374.75p.

Oil stocks also edged higher as the oil price rose to fresh two-year highs. BP was up 5.5p at 420.5p while Shell gained 1.5p to 402.75p.

GlaxoSmithKline added weight to the market, after claiming a partial victory in its battle to prevent the launch of generic competition to its key Paxil treatment. Shares rose 7p to 1127p.

Retailers also looked in better shape despite worries about Christmas spending continuing.

Firms have taken a tumble following concerns that consumers are tightening their purse strings as they find other ways to spend their cash.

However GUS reversed an early decline to rise 5.5p to 557.5p, Tesco was up 3.75p at 190.75p while fashion chain Next was unchanged at 717p. Kingfisher slipped, however, down 1.25p at 209.75p.

The Footsie's rise marks an improvement on Friday's trading, when Footsie ended a dismal day nearly 3% lower.

A poor close on Wall Street before the weekend - where the Dow Jones ended more than 100 points lower - also dulled the mood in early trading in London.

But hopes of a better start from Wall Street this afternoon helped pull the Footsie ahead.

Paul Hare, trader at City Index, said: "US markets were being forecast to open down, but predictions have rallied a bit, we are now expecting it to open a little stronger - up 10 points. But the market is still nervous with the price of oil creeping higher."

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