FTSE sees banks up as Greece is saved

The FTSE 100 was flat this morning and the only significant gainers were banks buoyed by further steps towards saving Greece from the financial abyss.

In Wall Street and in Asia nudged up overnight as the European Central Bank's fresh liquidity injection this week served to warm up investor sentiment.

The spotlight is on the two-day European summit that ends today, where leaders have been discussing the right balance between budget austerity and reviving lost growth.

Meanwhile finance ministers gave provisional approval to a second bailout for Greece.

Barclays, which today revealed that it had tapped the ECB for £6.8bn, was up two per cent while RBS and Lloyds edged up just over one per cent.

In other significant banking news Britain's sixth biggest mortgage provider, the "bad bank" running down the loans of collapsed UK lender Northern Rock, said it repaid £2.1bn to the government last year after its annual profits more than doubled.

The highest climber on London's blue chip index was International Power which had a lift of 3.8 per cent after announcing new power contracts in Indonesia.

Engineer IMI was another solid performer, rising by just over one per cent after reporting a jump in profits.

On the down side Kazakhmys was down one per cent in a hangover from poorly received results yesterday.

Outsourcer Capita was off by one per cent pegging back some recent gains fuelled by a recent trading update in which it said its order book was brimming.

Meanwhile retail giant Next was off by more than one per cent while Marks & Spencer edged down by 0.2 per cent in a weak start to the session for retailers.

Cruise ship giant Carnival, which has recently been dented by the sinking of its liner Costa Concordia, was also down by just under one per cent.

In Asia the Nikkei closed up 0.7 per cent and the Hang Seng 0.8 per cent.