Banks pulled out of their downward spiral today as investors paused for breath amid Europe’s ongoing sovereign debt crisis.

The scale of last night’s slump, which saw shares in the sector fall by as much as 7%, prompted some opportunistic buying today as Barclays rose 7.2p to 214.9p and Lloyds Banking Group lifted 1.2p to 42.5p.

The respite extended to the wider London market, with the FTSE 100 Index up 28.2 points to 5781.1 after closing 90 points lower yesterday.

Other risers included Royal Bank of Scotland, which added 0.6p to 33.6p despite its announcement that Nathan Bostock is to vacate his position as head of restructuring and risk to join rival Lloyds.

In a quiet session for corporate news, Johnson Matthey rose more than 2%, up 46p to 1983p, after the speciality chemicals company said it made further progress in the first quarter of its financial year.

And Greene King shares were up 3p to 483.25p after the brewer and pub chain announced a £70 million deal to buy Capital Pub Company.

The acquisition, which will add 34 pubs in London and the south-east, is a blow to Fuller, Smith & Turner after it failed with two previous offers for Capital. Fuller shares were down 3.75p at 697.75p, while Capital Pub Company lifted 25.5p to 236p, a rise of 12%.