Shares in British banks were up on the FTSE 100 as positive broker comments outweighed mounting concerns about sovereign debt in the eurozone.

This morning HSBC was upgraded from "hold" to "buy" by Citigroup, while UBS issued a positive note on Barclays current prospects.

The vote of confidence in the banks helped outweigh fears that the eurozone is heading towards its third bailout, following the bailouts of Greece and Ireland last year.

Portugal is the "PIIG" currently in the spotlight, with reports surfacing that France and Germany are pressuring the country to accept an EU/IMF bailout.

However Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, Portuguese Finance Minister, has said that his country is not looking for a bailout. His comments have echoes of the Irish government, which even in the week before its own bailout, was denying it needed one before being pushed into it by the EU.

By 09:50 shares in Lloyds Banking Groups were up 2.26 per cent to 66.66 pence per share, RBS shares increased 1.29 per cent to 40.01 pence per share, Barclays shares rose 4.70 per cent to 289.70 pence per share and HSBC shares climbed 2.45 per cent to 688.90 pence per share.

Overall the FTSE 100 was up 0.87 per cent to 6,008.35.