FTSE steady as investors eye Eurozone crisis summit

Banks and miners helped to give the FTSE 100 a lift in early trading as investors looked to a key weekend in the Eurozone for signs that the bloc's debt crisis could be brought under control.

Leaders are still sharply divided over how to strengthen a Eurozone rescue fund and meet on Sunday to once again seek to hammer out a solution.

However, the key players France and Germany predicted that no significant decisions will be made with the debate set to rage into next week.

Also casting a shadow was a fresh warning from ratings agency S&P that France could lose its triple A standing if the Eurozone lurches back into recession.

But in positive UK economic news public sector net borrowing was slightly lower than expected in September, at £14,138bn, down from £15.411bn in the same month last year.

On London's blue chip index Lloyds was up 3.1 per cent and RBS 2.6 per cent, making them two of the highest climbers. Barclays was up 1.6 per cent and HSBC 0.6 per cent.

Also in the financial sector fund manager Hargreaves Lansdown was up 2.3 per cent.

Among miners Rio Tinto and Antofagasta were both up more than two per cent. The sector bounced back after a plunge in copper prices on the London Metals Exchange in the previous session.

The biggest riser on the index was engineer Weir Group which surged by more than six per cent.

On the negative side temporary power supplier Aggreko was the biggest faller, down 1.4 per cent. Meanwhile iPhone chipmaker Arm Holdings dipped by just over one per cent.

On the Nikkei in Japan, shares of scandal-hit Olympus Corp ended down 6.8 per cent to their lowest close since December 1999.

Olympus shares have lost 50.4 per cent of their value since the company fired British chief executive Michael Woodford from his top post a week ago.

The Nikkei closed down 0.04 per cent while the Hang Seng edged up by 0.24 per cent.