Bank shares put end to four-day FTSE rally

LONDON’S top index dipped this morning after four successive days of gains, as Eurozone leaders met to discuss the possibility of further rescue packages for troubled nations.

The FTSE 100 lost 31.89 points to hang 0.5 per cent down at 6,384.25, as gains to mining stocks were offset by some big fallers and a decline in banking shares across the board.

Antofagasta led mining shares up this morning, rising 2.4 per cent as Eurasian Natural Resources and Evraz also improved, capping a good week for mining stocks on the FTSE 100.

Aggreko, the power generation firm, was up 1.5 per cent after revealing a positive start to the year, with quarterly revenues increasing seven per cent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, speciality chemicals firm Johnson Matthey rose 2.3 per cent after analysts at Credit Suisse and UBS backed the firm, and insurer Resolution was also up.

Johnson Matthey’s gain hit another chemicals producer, Croda International, which was the biggest faller down 3.35 per cent, while British Airways owner IAG fell despite the release of Heathrow figures showing record passenger numbers in March.

RBS led a fall in banking shares, down 1.7 per cent, which was followed by Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and Standard Chartered. The banks will be eyeing first-quarter results from JP Morgan this afternoon.

Defence giant BAE Systems fell around 1.2 per cent while Legal &General, the insurer was, down 2.1 per cent. Both firms were downgraded by JP Morgan today.