A strong session for UK banking stocks ensured London’s FTSE 100 Index recovered some ground after falling more than 1% yesterday.
The top flight gained 27.3 points to 5127.5, even though markets on Wall Street and in Asia stumbled overnight on fears over the global economic outlook.
Banks dominated the risers board as Standard Chartered lifted 3% or 51.5p to 1762p, Royal Bank of Scotland rose 1p to 46.2p and HSBC added 12.2p to 649.3p.
There was also a decent rise for market heavyweight Vodafone, up 1.6p to 144.5p, but BP sustained further losses after revealing the cost of the Gulf of Mexico clean-up operation had hit £1.6 billion.
The blue-chip stock, which has slumped to a 13-year low, fell by another 4.85p to 320.4p.
It was joined on the fallers board by a host of other energy-based firms, with BG Group down 17.5p at 1046p and Tullow Oil off 7p to 1080p.
Retailers were also under pressure after a post-Budget review of the sector by Morgan Stanley led to downgrades for a number of leading names.
They included WH Smith, which slipped 13.7p to 413.7p, and Halfords with a drop of 15p to 531p. B&Q owner Kingfisher, which was also targeted by Morgan Stanley, fell by a penny to 223.9p.