FTSE climbs as banks reopen in Greece

<p>Positive broker comments for HSBC and Sports Direct also boosted the share index.</p>

After a fall in the previous session, the FTSE 100 share index rose on Monday (July 20th). Analysts report that the increase in Britain's top share index could be attributed to banks reopening in Greece, as well as positive broker comments about firms like HSBC and Sports Direct.

By 13:57 BST, the blue-chip index was up 0.2 per cent to 6,785.54.

HSBC

HSBC added the most points to the index, after its shares rose one per cent to 586p. This came on the back of Citigroup raising the bank's rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral".

Equities expert Richard Hunter told Reuters: "Citi's upgrade is benefiting HSBC. Despite its exposure to the Asian market, HSBC remains well capitalised and financially robust and is looking to streamline its operations wherever possible."

Greece

Mr Hunter added that stabilisation in Greece has helped market sentiment. "If we don't hear any bad news from Greece in the next couple of days, investors will turn back to fundamentals such as quarterly earnings," he explained.

Today, Greek banks reopened after three weeks of being shut – a move to stop the country's financial system from collapsing. Financial experts say that opening the banks again could be seen as a "first cautious sign of a return to normal".

Sports Direct and other gainers

Shares at Sports Direct rose 2.7 per cent – this followed Exane BNP Paribas raising its target price for the company's stock from 800p to 860p.

Meanwhile, Rolls-Royce saw an increase of 0.4 per cent – the company has recently seen successive profit warnings but its aero engine business recently won two new contracts totalling $2.23 billion (£1.43 billion).

In the FTSE 250, Aveva saw the biggest gain. It jumped nearly 29 per cent following the announcement that France's Schneider Electric would combine its software with teh company in a reverse takeover that was intended to create a global leader in industrial software.

Online takeaway ordering service Just Eat also saw positive results. It added four per cent – that's on top of a near nin per cent advance that the company saw last week.

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