Rebound for FTSE

The London market held firm in positive territory today as stocks regained their poise following the turmoil seen yesterday on Bradford & Bingley's profits warning.

The London market held firm in positive territory today as stocks regained their poise following the turmoil seen yesterday on Bradford & Bingley's profits warning.

The FTSE 100 Index received a late session boost as Wall Street reacted well to comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke that the American economy should pick up later this year.

London's leading share index responded with a gain of 50.1 points to close at 6057.7, despite little in the way of corporate news.

Some banks enjoyed better fortunes as investors looked for bargains after yesterday's dire session, although it was a mixed day for the sector.

Royal Bank of Scotland found momentum to top the Footsie risers' board, with a gain of more than 8%, or 18.75p to 244.75p.

RBS was closely followed by Lloyds TSB, which was 11.5p better at 388.75p, or 3%.

Some uncertainty remained as Halifax Bank of Scotland however, which shed 10% of its value yesterday, was on the back foot again today with a fall of 8.25p to 351.75p, while Barclays shed 5.25p to 360.25p.

In the FTSE 250 Index, shares in Bradford & Bingley failed to show a significant recovery from yesterday's 24% tumble, gaining just 1.25p to 68.25p. Brokers at Collins Stewart and Lehman Brothers cut their price targets on the stock following yesterday's gloomy update.

However, back in the top flight, positive broker comments helped retailers make progress. Argos owner Home Retail cheered 14.5p to 242.75p after an upgrade from Seymour Pierce, while B&Q firm Kingfisher gained 4.7p to 138.8p following a buy recommendation from Panmure Gordon.

Second tier retailer DSG International, which owns Currys and PC World, also had a good session, up 2.25p at 61p, ahead 4%.

Budget airline Ryanair meanwhile was nearly 9% better off as it unveiled a 17% hike in pre-tax profits to €528m. With combative chief executive Michael O'Leary vowing that higher oil prices did not mean the end of low fare airlines, shares rose 23 cents to €2.86.

Ryanair's fellow no-frills airline easyJet benefited from the news, gaining 9.75p to 295.25p, more than 3%.

Engineering giant Amec was another riser, adding 35.5p to 884p, after announcing a deal to provide project management for oil firm BP's offshore developments.

One of the leading Footsie fallers was mining firm Vedanta Resources, which unveiled a US acquisition yesterday. Shares were off 81p to 2424p as falling metal prices weighed on the stock.

Persimmon was also a leading blue-chip casualty after a note on the housebuilding sector from Goldman Sachs, which voiced concerns over an intensifying market slowdown. Shares in the Charles Church builder were off 11.25p at 456p, a fall of nearly 3%.

Its FTSE 250 counterparts suffered even heavier falls, with Redrow down 9.5p at 223.25 and Barratt Developments off 7%, or 11p at 156.5p.

The biggest Footsie risers were Royal Bank of Scotland up 18.75p at 244.75p, Home Retail Group ahead 14.5p at 242.75p, Amec up 35.5p at 884p and Standard Life up 10p at 262.5p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Eurasian Natural Resources off 77p at 1367p, Vedanta Resources down 81p at 2424p, Persimmon down 11.25p at 456p and Carnival down 32p at 1897p.

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