FTSE in cautious comeback

Banks led a cautious recovery for the London market today as the dust settled after yesterday’s profit warning from Bradford & Bingley.

Banks led a cautious recovery for the London market today as the dust settled after yesterday’s profit warning from Bradford & Bingley.

Royal Bank of Scotland was the leading blue-chip performer as investors went bargain hunting and was joined by Lloyds TSB among the top share risers.

By mid-morning, the FTSE 100 Index was 12.9 points higher at 6020.5 amid more subdued trading, with losses registered on Wall Street overnight.

RBS topped the risers board with a gain of more than 6%, or 14.25p to 240.25p. Halifax Bank of Scotland, which shed 10% of its value yesterday, clawed back a modest 2.25p to 362.25p, while Lloyds TSB was 10.5p better at 387.75p.

Shares in Bradford & Bingley gained a little momentum after a sluggish start with shares up 3% or 2.25p to 69.25p – although this compared with the 24% tumble seen yesterday after its gloomy trading update and profits warning.

Retailers also enjoyed a good session after being marked up by analysts. Argos owner Home Retail cheered 7.75p to 236p after an upgrade from Seymour Pierce, while B&Q firm Kingfisher gained 4.1p to 138.2p following a buy recommendation from Panmure Gordon.

Budget airline Ryanair meanwhile was more than 8% better off as it unveiled a 17% hike in pre-tax profits to 528 million euros (£419m). With combative chief executive Michael O’Leary vowing that higher oil prices did not mean the end of low fare airlines, shares rose 22c to 2.86 euro.

The update had a mixed impact among other listed airlines. British Airways slipped 1.25p to 227.5p, although Ryanair’s fellow no-frills airline easyJet gained 3p to 288.5p.

Engineering giant AMEC was another riser, adding 23.5p to 872p, after announcing a deal to provide project management for oil firm BP’s offshore developments.

The leading Footsie faller was mining firm Vedanta Resources, which unveiled a US acquisition yesterday. Shares were off 59p to 2446p.

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