FTSE steadied by banks and miners

The FTSE 100 steadied this morning but fears over world growth and in particular the continuing Eurozone debt crisis cast a shadow over markets.

Having fallen back to its weakest point this year the blue chip index was given a boost by miners and banks but the market was effectively flat.

The sector had been the poorest performer in the previous trading session but better than expected first-quarter numbers from US aluminium firm Alcoa buoyed the stocks.

Banks also saw a modest rally as Spanish bond yields eased back, relieving some of the fears over the European debt situation.

Security giant G4S was the highest climber on the index, up 3.1 per cent.

The lift came after Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating to "overweight" from "equal weight".

Engineer Weir Group edged up by two per cent while broadcaster ITV lifted by more than one per cent.

Among miners Fresnillo was the biggest gainer, up 1.5 per cent, Anglo American was up by 0.7 per cent with Rio Tinto 0.8 per cent up.

Another heavyweight in the sector BHP Billiton had a slim 0.3 per cent lift.

Randgold Resources was up 0.4 per cent after a political settlement in Mali where a coup had put its operations under pressure.

In banking Barclays was up 2.2 per cent and Lloyds 0.8 per cent. However RBS was off by 1.7 per cent.

Other fallers included BT, down 1.7 per cent, after JPMorgan Cazenove downgraded its rating to "neutral" from "overweight" after a good run, citing revenue risk over the group's full-year and first-quarter results.

BskyB shed 1.6 per cent after BofA Merrill Lynch cut its rating to "underperform" from "neutral".

Publisher Reed Elsevier dipped by 1.5 per cent.

The biggest faller in London was pharmaceutical company Shire, down just over three per cent.

Meanwhile ex-dividend considerations clipped 1.31 points off the index with gas specialist BG Group and engineer IMI both trading without their payout attractions.

In Asia the Nikkei closed down 0.8 per cent and the Hang Seng a shade over one per cent.