Lloyds Banking Group gained today in the FTSE 100 Index amid reports that it plans to close its Cheltenham & Gloucester branches.
The banking giant climbed more than 3% as news emerged of the latest rationalisation following the merger with Halifax Bank of Scotland.
The FTSE stood 9.9 points higher at 4415.2 by mid-morning, keeping its head above water after Monday’s losses.
Banks were in the black today with Lloyds on the top of the risers board, up 1.9p to 63p, after falling 8% yesterday in the wake of its successful cash call to investors.
Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays were also higher, up 0.7p at 36p and 3.75p to 287.5p respectively.
Retailers were also on the front foot today as investors drew some comfort from surveys covering the property sector and high street spending.
The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors offered further signs that the worst of the recession may be over, fuelling interest in consumer-related stocks.
Argos owner Home Retail Group lifted 7.25p to 255.25p and in the FTSE 250 Debenhams gained 2.5p to 84p. While the BRC reported a 0.8% fall in like-for-like sales in May, analysts noted this was against tough comparisons with a year earlier.
Berkeley Group was the FTSE 250’s biggest faller, down 8%, after the firm confirmed more than 16 million shares had been placed. Shares were down 68p to 757p amid speculation that the Saudi Saad Group was selling a large chunk of its holding.
Also outside the top flight, shares in financial trading firm IG Group rose 8% or 21.50p to 239.25p after it delivered a better-than-expected trading update.
Back in the main market, Thomas Cook slid 5p to 209.25p after German retailer Rewe Zentrale said it would be interested in the firm if it was on the market.