Banking shares buoy FTSE 100

The blue chip index opened marginally up this morning, buoyed by financials and miners. Investors were lifted by the latest unemployment figures, which show the number of jobless fell by 50,000 in the three months to August.

On the leading index, Evraz, Eurasian Natural Resources, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Rio Tinto edged the FTSE 100 higher.

On the FTSE All-Share, 888 Holdings made a good start to the day, adding 8.4 per cent as the online gaming company said it expects earnings to come in ahead of full-year market expectations.

Insurer CPP Group continued its rise this morning, increasing 6.3 per cent.

Troubled holiday group Thomas Cook rose 5.63 per cent, while Czech Republic-focused miner New World Resources added 3.64 per cent, after reporting earlier this week reduced sales targets for the year.

Elsewhere, Braemar Shipping jumped almost four per cent in early trade.

UK banks made a strong start to the session. HSBC rose 0.28 per cent, RBS soared 2.96 per cent and Lloyds Banking Group jumped 5.41 per cent. Only Barclays felt the heat, dropping 2.26 per cent.

The loser board this morning was dominated by a mixed bag of companies.

Brewers Punch Taverns and Fuller Smith & Turner fell 4.26 and 3.36 per cent respectively.

Asset manager Close Brothers Group dropped 3.54 per cent, while defence company BAE Systems slumped 2.49 per cent as it said it is to sell its armoured vehicle business.

Tool hire business Speedy Hire fell 2.42 per cent, despite a positive trading update today.

In Asia, the Nikkei closed up 1.21 per cent and in the US the Dow Jones closed up 0.95 per cent.