Shares in British banks were mixed on the FTSE 100 in morning trading as ratings agencies threatened a downgrade while simultaneously hammering the eurozone.

Moody's said today that it is considering a downgrade of part-nationalised banks Lloyds Banking Group and RBS on the grounds that regulators and authorities such as the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority appear less willing to consider bank bailouts than in the past.

Meanwhile in Europe Fitch gave Belgium a negative outlook yesterday, after S&P put Italy on negative last Friday, citing the Mediterranean nation's weak growth prospects and large debts.

In addition Greece had its credit rating cut by Fitch on Friday to B+, leading to a massive rise in the cost of Greek borrowing yesterday, with yields on Greece's two year debt rising 26 per cent, and on ten year debt jumping 17 per cent.

Despite this turbulence in the eurozone and concerns about the bailed out banks in Britain, investors showed surprising confidence with some banking shares rising this morning.

By 09:30 shares in Lloyds Banking Group were down 1.22 per cent to 50.25 pence per share and Barclays shares dropped 0.93 per cent to 265.75 pence per share.

However RBS saw its shares increase 0.05 per cent to 40.90 pence per share and HSBC shares rose 0.11 per cent to 627.40 pence per share.

Overall the FTSE 100 was up 0.34 per cent to 5,855.49.