Shares in British banks were up on the FTSE 100 in morning trading ahead of key U.S. employment data, due later today.

Investors appear to be expecting good U.S. payroll data, apparently offsetting fears about sovereign debt in the eurozone and political unrest and war in the Middle East and North Africa.

By 09:35 shares in Lloyds Banking Group were up 2.77 per cent to 59.70 pence per share, RBS shares rose 3.09 per cent to 42.05 pence per share, Barclays shares increased 3.76 per cent to 288.00 pence per share and HSBC shares climbed 1.36 per cent to 649.70 pence per share.

Overall the FTSE 100 was up 0.82 per cent to 5,956.92.