Lift to BAE Systems from Lockheed rumour helps FTSE edge upwards

BRITISH top shares rose yesterday, helped by a 2.5 per cent jump in British aerospace group BAE Systems after four traders cited market speculation of interest in the company from US firm Lockheed Martin.

“Vague rumours that Lockheed is showing interest,” one trader wrote in an email.

BAE shares closed at 319.70p.

Banks also helped the FTSE along, gaining after a deal was reached other Greek debt – but gains were capped as a global growth warning from the OECD subdued demand for energy-related stocks

Eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund agreed late on Monday on measures to cut Greek debt by €40bn by 2020, reducing it to 124 per cent of GDP and paving the way for Athens to receive its next bailout installment.

Royal Bank of Scotland led FTSE 100 risers, adding 3.5 per cent. Of British banks it is one of the most highly exposed to the Greek debt crisis, and lost £1.1bn on Greek bond investments in 2011.

RBS also benefited from an upgrade by UBS, who cited the positive regulatory implications of Canadian central bank head Mark Carney’s appointment as Bank of England governor.

“We think the appointment... provides the opportunity for the UK regulatory environment to be recast with a more conciliatory tone,” UBS said. “This helps reduce the tail risk associated with investing in UK banks.” Lloyds gained 2.9 per cent, while HSBC added only 0.2 per cent.

At the close, the FTSE 100 was up 12.99 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 5,799.71, with financials, a sector that includes banks, insurers and asset managers, adding 6.9 points to the index.