FTSE on the up after positive US retail sales news

The London market closed higher today following positive US retail sales and amid hopes two of the eurozone's struggling members would receive bailouts later this week.

FTSE on the up after positive US retail sales news

The London market closed higher today following positive US retail sales and amid hopes two of the eurozone's struggling members would receive bailouts later this week.

The FTSE 100 Index closed 12.3 points higher at 5805.6 after the US Commerce Department said US retail sales had grown for the third month in a row in September.

Meanwhile, investors were looking ahead to a week in which Greece is expected to agree on €13.5bn worth of spending cuts to allow the next bailout payment to be signed off, while Spain may also request a bailout.

The pound was down against the US dollar at 1.60 as the greenback strengthened on the back of the retail figures. Sterling was up against the euro at 1.24.

But taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland dominated much of the focus on the market as analysts warned over the impact of its collapsed £1.65bn (€2bn) branch sale with Santander.

The 80% state-owned lender fell 1% or 2.8p to 268.1p after Santander ran out of patience with the protracted integration process relating to the deal for 316 branches.

RBS, which must offload the branches by 2013 under European state-aid rules, was one of the biggest fallers in the top flight, although the FTSE 100 Index made headway to rise 27 points at 5810.

Investec warned RBS was now likely to settle for terms that are £500m (€620.2m) to £1bn (€1.24bn) worse than those originally agreed with Santander.

However, other banking shares fared well with Barclays adding 2% or 4.7p to 236.9p, Lloyds Banking Group rising 0.6p to 40.3p and HSBC advancing 5p to 600.3p.

Mining stocks populated the top of the fallers board with Kazakhmys down 25.5p at 690p and Anglo American off 36p at 1788.5p.

BT was 1.7p in the red at 217p after Barclays cut its price target on the stock and highlighted the risks associated with the telecoms company's move into sports content.

Financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown enjoyed another strong session adding 13.5p to 725.5p, after its strong trading update on Friday continued to buoy shares.

Transport firm FirstGroup fell another 3% after the Government announced Virgin had been asked to continue running the troubled West Coast Main Line for another few months.

The temporary fix has been proposed by the Department for Transport after its embarrassing U-turn over the award of a new franchise earlier this month which had been given to FirstGroup. Shares were down 6.1p to 184.6p.

Market researcher YouGov saw shares drop 3% despite announcing its maiden dividend payment of 0.5p a share after market-beating performances in the UK, United States and Nordic regions.

Shares were off 2.5p at 77.5p despite it revealing a 5% rise in pre-tax profits to £6.1 million for the year to July 31.

The biggest Footsie risers were Admiral Group up 32p at 1119p, Kingfisher ahead 7.3p at 275.8p, Standard Chartered up 34p at 1461p, Barclays ahead 4.7p at 236.9p.

The biggest Footsie fallers were Kazakhmys down 25.5p at 690p, Eurasian Natural Resources off 9.1p at 319.8p, Evraz down 5.1p at 229.2p and Anglo American off 36p at 1788.5p.

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