Shares in Barclays and HSBC moved in opposite directions today, despite steady trading updates from the heavyweight banking pair.
HSBC rose 4% or 29.2p to 721.4p after it reported an improved trend on bad debts and said results were “significantly ahead” in the quarter to September 30.
Barclays also delivered a better underlying performance but shares dropped 3% or 11p to 331.8p as analysts said trading in its investment banking arm was slightly weaker than expected.
Overall, the London market maintained its recent strong run as the FTSE 100 Index climbed 13 points to 5248.2 by mid-morning.
The gain was achieved despite a fall of 3% for Vodafone after the mobile phone giant warned of intense pressure in its key Indian market. Shares fell 4p to 133.95p as results for the half year were in line with expectations, helped by earlier-than-expected cost savings of £1bn (€1.1bn).
One of the biggest gains in the top flight came from Imperial Tobacco after the JPS maker announced the appointment of chief operating officer Alison Cooper as replacement for long-time chief executive Gareth Davis.
The company, which posted a 39% rise in annual profits to £2.2bn (€2.4bn), saw shares climb 68p to 1896p, a gain of 4%.
In the FTSE 250 Index, directories firm Yell surrendered a promising start seen after it announced another landmark in its balance sheet restructuring. It now plans to raise £660m (€734m) from investors, more than the £500m (€556m) signalled last week, but shares were 0.7p lower at 47.3p after initially rising by more than 3%.
Industrial products firm Cookson led the second-tier risers board after it said it expected profits for this year to be at the upper end of market forecasts. Shares jumped 11% or 44.8p to 438.4p.