FTSE steady; RBS continues its recovery

FTSE steady; RBS continues its recovery”

Britain's blue chip FTSE 100 index ended the session up 0.5 percent at 7,511.71 points after a shaky start to the trading session, while mid caps gained 0.3 percent.

The FTSE 100 has rallied after robust U.S. jobs data buoyed investor sentiment, while the dollar's rally against the pound provided a further boost.

In a busy week of company earnings, robust first half results from lender Royal Bank of Scotland sent its shares up 2.4 percent, with peers Standard Chartered and Lloyds also making slight gains.

RBS (LON:RBS) shares rose 4.4% as the lender said it had made a profit of £939mn for the first half of 2017 compared to a loss of £2.05bn for the same period a year ago.

At 12:34pm BST, the Barratt Developments (3.80%), Persimmon (-3.31%) and Taylor Wimpey (-2.87%) were still among the biggest FTSE 100 fallers.

Traders cited a media report that the United Kingdom government was reviewing Help-to-Buy, a scheme aimed at helping first-time buyers on to the property ladder.

"We believe the violent share price falls were an over reaction to speculation", analysts at Jefferies said in a note.

"The US non-farm payroll number was very decent with participation rate ticking higher", Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets, commented, as quoted by CNBC, adding that there was nothing in the data which could lead Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen to change her language.

Education group Pearson shed 0.6 percent after its first-half loss before tax narrowed from past year, reflecting the absence of restructuring costs.

Pearson has struggled with a slowdown in its key North American market as well as the rise of digital, and its shares have dropped more than 20 percent so far this year.

Hargreaves Lansdown was under pressure as it was forced to cancel its special dividend after the City regulator ordered it to strengthen its backup surplus of cash, but indicated it is likely to report strong profits for the year to 30 June.

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