The FTSE 100 index is up about 13 points to 4,538 this morning, led upwards by bank stocks offsetting the anchoring effect of the oil and gas sector.
British Airways is flying highest, adding 13.5p to 325p after Citigroup upgraded its share price target on the stock to 450p.
Royal & Sun Alliance is up 2.75p to 106.75p after rumours Finnish bank Sampo may bid for a Danish insurer in which the UK firm has a controlling stake.
HBOS is up 11.5p to 745p, leading the main clearing banks.
LloydsTSB is up 6p to 449p, while Standard Chartered is up 11.5p to 946.5p.
National Grid Transco is up 2.5p to 427.75p even as it has announced that supplies of natural gas from North Sea oil fields is becoming less reliable as the fields become depleted. That news may have helped send oil and gas stocks down.
BG Group is down 3.75p to 318.25p.
Shell is down 3.5p to 380p, and BP is down 1.25p to 443.25p.
The FTSE 250 index is up about 10 points to 6,328.
DFS has soared 26p to 434p with news its chairman may table a £444m bid for the company, which recently reported slowing sales of sofas and other furniture at its stores in the UK.
Yule Catto, a maker of ingredients for generic drugs, is down 10.75p to 244.25p after predicting a fall in 2004 full-year profit because of rising input costs and more competition.
Overnight, US indices were little changed although shares could move more later today after reports on the US economy are released by the government there. The Dow Jones Industrial Average index closed up 1.63 points at 10,593.11, while the broader S&P 500 index added 1.94 points to 1,151.04. The technology laden Nasdaq Composite close down 6.29 points at 2,033.36.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index hit a new 12-month high after gaining 49.07 points to 11,409.71 earlier today. New figures from the Tokyo Stock Exchange show foreign investors were net buyers of Japanese stocks in 10 of the 11 weeks to the end of February.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.53 points to 13,451.56 after news that pro-democracy candidates for future elections intending to visit the US have been criticised by Beijing-based press on order of the Chinese government.IFAonline
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