Lloyds interest sparks FTSE bounce

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lloyds Banking Group shares lit up the risers’ board yesterday as overseas interest in the lender attracted investors to the financial sector.

Royal Bank of Scotland was the biggest gainer, up 12.1p or 4.4 per cent at 288.8p, but it was Lloyds that grabbed the limelight as foreign investors stepped up their interest in buying part of the bank.

With a number of sovereign wealth funds circling and a consortium involving Lord Davies also thought to be eyeing a stake, shares in Lloyds closed up 2.47p or 3.8 per cent at 67.1p – comfortably above the 61.2p level the UK government regards as its break-even price.

The banking rebound helped push the benchmark FTSE 100 index up 74.55 points or 1.2 per cent to close at 6,450.07. Germany’s Dax added 2.1 per cent and the Cac-40 in France was 1.9 per cent higher as confidence also returned to European markets.

Clearly with Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win very much in his thoughts, Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “This morning’s FTSE has served up a treat for the ‘buy on dip’ traders, offering a number of sectors to choose from and smashing the recent negativity.

“Very much like the weather, however, British optimism can be a fickle thing, and lasting to the end of the week is a tough ask.”

ITV was 2.2 per cent or 3.3p higher at 152.8p amid speculation it is weighing up a £90 million bid for Helsinki-based production house Nice Entertainment Group, which would add to its stable of content and further reduce its reliance on volatile advertising markets.

But Marks & Spencer fell amid fears a trading update today will reveal more woes for its clothing division. The group was down 3p to 459.7p.

NEW YORK: Wall Street advanced last night, heading into the start of earnings season, building on gains sparked by last week’s robust US employment report.

The Dow Jones industrial 
average was up 89.47 points, or 0.59 per cent, to end at 15,225.31 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 8.60 points, or 0.53 per cent, to finish at 1,640.49. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 5.45 points, or 0.16 percent, to end the day at 3,484.83.