A rise in bond yields boosted the financials across Europe this morning with the UK banks helping the FTSE 100 (INDEXFTSE:UKX) to a new record high of 7,750.58 before it settled back to yesterday’s peak.
The blue chip share index was steady at 0.01%, down 0 points at 7,730.72 by 11.39 GMT.
Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) shares led the financials, up 2.9%, as Morgan Stanley upgraded the state-backed bank from Equal Weight to Overweight. HSBC (LON:HSBA) shares were also up 2.3% and Standard Chartered (LON:STAN) 3.3%. Morgan Stanley cut both Lloyds (LON:LLOY) and Barclays (LON:BARC) to Equal Weight from Overweight with their shares up 0.4% and down 0.6% respectively.
Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) shares rose 1.5% as the retailer reported it was “moderately ahead” of its sales expectations over the Christmas period and raised its annual profit guidance. UBS said in a note: “Sainsbury’s has delivered reassuring trading through what, post the Argos acquisition, is its key quarter for sales and profitability.”
Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS) shares gained 1.4% as it said that Dixons Carphone FD Humphrey Singer would be its new CFO replacing the outgoing Helen Weir.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey (LON:TW) shares fell 4.5% as it reported a fall in its order book and a slowdown in house price growth. Taylor Wimpey’s order book is down to £1.63bn from £1.68bn year-on-year.
In the mid-caps, Ted Baker (LON:TED) shares jumped 7.6% with strong growth in its online sales a good performance in its retail outlets over Christmas.
On the currency markets, sterling rose 0.16% against the dollar to $1.3553 but fell 0.49% against the euro to €1.1285.