Belfast Telegraph

Bank stocks edge up FTSE 100

London's FTSE 100 Index struggled for direction despite a buoyant session for blue chip banks and airlines.

The top tier edged up 5 points to close at 7026.9, while markets across Europe held steady after the European Central Bank kept interest rates on hold and pushed back the potential for more quantitative easing until at least December.

France's Cac 40 lifted 0.4% and the Dax in Germany was 0.5% higher.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped back in early trading as investors weighed disappointing quarterly results and forecasts from the likes of eBay and Verizon.

In currency markets, the embattled pound slipped almost a cent to 1.22 US dollars, while it held firm at 1.12 euros.

Bank stocks led the FTSE 100 higher as they took the lead from their US counterparts after a buoyant third quarter earnings session on Wall Street.

Ahead of their third quarter updates next week, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays were the biggest blue chip risers - ahead 6.3p at 186.3p and 5.7p to 183.1p respectively.

Lloyds, which also reports next week, was 0.7p stronger at 55.6p.

British Airways owner International Airlines Group and easyJet also made strong gains thanks to a surprise profit target rise by German rival Lufthansa.

This came as a dose of welcome good news from the industry after recent profit warnings from Ryanair and easyJet.

IAG lifted 7.8p to 400.9p and easyJet was 8.5p higher at 934.5p.

But ITV was suffering share falls - down 4% or 6.6p to 173.2p - after downbeat broker notes from Liberum and Jefferies, with the latter warning on the broadcaster's net advertising revenue outlook in the fourth quarter.

In the FTSE 250, engineering firms Senior and Keller saw their shares hammered after both firms warned over profits.

Senior, which makes components for Airbus and Bombardier planes, saw shares plunge more than a fifth to their lowest level since the end of 2011 at one stage as it posted an 18% drop in profits for the first nine months of its year and warned over the full-year result.

Its shares later clawed back to stand 13% down, off 27.3p at 176.9p.

Keller was left nursing a 27% plunge in shares after it said profits would be around 15% below expectations.

The stock tumbled 241p to 644.5p.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Royal Bank of Scotland up 6.3p at 186.3p , Barclays ahead 5.7p at 183.1p, Standard Chartered 13.9p stronger at 699.2p and International Airlines Group 7.8p higher at 400.9p.

The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were ITV down 6.6p to 173.2p, Sky off 31p at 825p, WPP 65p lower at 1755p and Smiths Group 44p weaker at 1436p.