Shares in British banks were up on the FTSE 100 in afternoon trading following the news that Portugal has asked for a bailout from the European Union.

The announcement had been expected for some time, however it does not appear to have phased investors who seem to be confident that the eurozone debt crises will not be spreading to Spain, or at least not in the near future.

In addition today saw interest rate decisions from both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank. Yet again though their decisions: with the BoE keeping rates at 0.5 per cent and the ECB raising rates by 0.25 percentage points to 1.25 per cent; were expected by investors.

By 14:10 shares in Lloyds Banking Group were up 0.63 per cent to 62.35 pence per share, RBS shares rose 1.57 per cent to 43.45 pence per share, Barclays shares climbed 1.15 per cent to 298.20 pence per share and HSBC shares increased 1.64 per cent to 671.20 pence per share.

Overall the FTSE 100 was down 0.12 per cent to 6,034.02.