FTSE 100 remains flat as banks weigh

Talk of break-up of RBS leaves shares down 5%

G4S was the top-performing stock on the FTSE 100 on Monday after reports over the weekend of bid interest in its cash-handling business from private equity.

Shares in the outsourcing company, which has been hit by problems on some of its government contracts, were up 3 per cent at 249.2p, the best gain by a clear margin.

The advance followed reports on Bloomberg that the Charterhouse private equity group was considering making a $1.6bn bid for the business.

Overall, the FTSE 100 was little changed, ticking 2 points higher to 6,624.8 as gains for resource stocks and some defensive sectors balanced out further weakness among financial stocks.

Sentiment was expected to remain cautious as investors wait for US economic data, delayed by the recent government shutdown.

Foremost among the releases will be the September jobs report – due on Tuesday – which will influence the Federal Reserve’s thinking on its economic stimulus policy.

The biggest faller was Royal Bank of Scotland, down 4.8 per cent to 354.8p, on talk of a possible break-up of the partly state-owned lender.

News of the departure of womenswear executive Gillian Ridley White from Marks and Spencer sent shares in the retailer down 2 per cent to 485p.

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