Morning markets: Financials shore up FTSE 100 in early trading

Financial stocks were the biggest risers in early trading as the FTSE 100 index climbed towards the 5,500 level.

The sector was buoyed as more positive newsflow emerged from Europe during the previous trading session.

Lloyds Banking Group was the biggest climber (at 0804 GMT), rising 5% to 24.8p, and was joined by a clutch of other UK financial stocks.

Barclays rose 3.6% to 177.5p, Legal & General was up 2.4% to 103.3p, while Standard Life climbed 2.2% higher to 204.3p.

The only non-financial among the top five was steel company and recent FTSE 100 entrant Evraz, which rose 4.3% to 380.5p, early on.

The biggest faller was precious metals producer Polymetal International, down 0.6% to 1,050p (at 0806 GMT).

Intercontinental Hotels Group dropped 0.4% to 1,097p. HSBC bucked the trend of rising financial stocks, as it slipped 0.2% lower to 483.1p.

Consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser and Costa Coffee owner Whitbread both dropped 0.1% to 3,172p and 1,550p, respectively.

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