Banks and miners stem tide of FTSE losses

The FTSE 100 was solid this morning as banks and miners stabilized the index which has taken a battering from the confidence sapping Eurozone crisis.

Germany - seen as the kingpin in the bloc - yesterday sold just €3.6bn (£3bn) worth of 10-year bonds, from €6bn euros on offer.

That sent shockwaves through markets which had already plummeted after turbulent auctions in Italy and Spain.

The FTSE 100 has been on its longest losing run since 2003 amid the turmoil.

In signs of some damage limitation in early trading today RBS was the highest climber, up 4.2 per cent. Lloyds was up 3.3 per cent and Barclays 3.2 per cent.

Also in the financial sector Investec nudged up 3.6 per cent.

Miners also opened on the front foot. Xstrata rose by 3.5 per cent while Rio Tinto was up by 2.7 per cent and Anglo American two per cent.

Engineer Weir Group rose by more than four per cent as brokers Credit Suisse and Citigroup upgraded their stock.

Caterer Compass Group was also up almost two per cent after Morgan Stanley raised its target price on its stock.

On the down side Tate & Lyle was down 1.5 per cent while water company Severn Trent dipped by 0.8 per cent.

Other losers in early trading included commodities giant Glencore, down 0.7 per cent, and National Grid 0.7 per cent.

On the FTSE 250 Dixons Retail rose 11 per cent after saying that its market shares was holding up despite reporting wider first half losses in the tough consumer climate.

Travel giant Thomas Cook gained 19 per cent after its shares nosedived on Tuesday when it revealed that it was seeking a further £100m in loans from its banks.

Meanwhile Britain's economy grew 0.5 per cent in the third quarter of this year, in line with previous estimates, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

In Europe later French President Nicolas Sarkozy will press German Chancellor Angela Merkel to let the European Central Bank act decisively to rescue the Eurozone from a deepening sovereign debt crisis now hitting Germany.

In Asia the Nikkei closed down 1.8 per cent while the Hang Seng was up 0.4 per cent.