Standard Chartered lifts the FTSE in Olympic-thinned trading session

Banking stocks lifted the benchmark FTSE- 00 to its best finish since early April yesterday, led by a resurgent Standard Chartered Bank.

Investors were impressed with chief executive Peter Sands’ robust defense of allegations of malfeance lodged by USā€ˆregulators, and pushed the shares 3.6 per cent higher. However RBS bucked the trend, sliding 1.3 per cent.

By the close of trade, the benchmark index stood 5.59 points stronger at 5,851.51.

An array of weak economic data out of China raised hopes that the Chinese government might enact further stimulus measures. Such actions could reverberate through the global economy and support equity prices.

But most dealers were glued to television screens as the Olympics entered their closing days. Volume was 22 per cent lower than the average of the last 30 days, according to Bloomberg.

Enterprise Inns topped the leader board, jumping 7.7 per cent after releasing interim results that far exceeded expectations.

BSkyB advanced 1.2 per cent following a favourable ruling from competition authorities, dragging fellow broadcaster ITV (up 2.0 per cent) in its wake.

But BT continued to suffer from worries that it may have overpaid for Premiership football broadcast rights, sliding 2.4 per cent, one of the worst-performing blue chip shares. Only engineering firm Amec (down 4.8 per cent) suffered a steeper sell off, after warning that strong interim revenues will taper off in the second half of the year.