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HBOS BOUNCE BACK WITH A VENGEANCE; Soaring share price defies crisis rumour.

HALIFAX Bank of Scotland staged a dramatic comeback on the London stock market yesterday to shake off last week's funding crisis rumours.

Britain's biggest lenders saw shares surge more than 14 per cent, with investor confidence returning after an overnight rally on Wall Street eased concerns over the global credit crisis.

HBOS shares plummeted up to 20 per cent last week as speculation ran rife about the firm, prompting City watchdogs to launch an inquiry amid accusations that traders were profiting from spreading false rumours.

But news that JP Morgan had upped their offer for troubled US investment bank Bear Stearns helped America's Dow Jones Industrial Average soar this week.

And the FTSE 100 Index followed, with a rise of more than three per cent, as trading resumed after the Easter break.

News over the weekend that around 250 directors and senior staff at HBOS had snapped up more than pounds 6million of the bank's shares the day after the share price collapse added to the stock's recovery.

Barclays followed HBOS with a nine per cent hike, as Royal Bank of Scotland and Alliance & Leicester went up eight and seven per cent respectively.

Market experts said the London market mood would continue to be dictated by the US.

Martin Slaney, of GFT Global Markets, said: "The improved price tag from JP Morgan has provided major upside to American and Asian shares and sets a positive lead for us."

JP Morgan hiked their bid for Bear Stearns Investment five-fold on Monday in a bid to appease the shareholders of the stricken investment bank.

The new offer of around pounds 606million came after Bear Stearns were forced to turn to the US Federal Reserve for emergency funding.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 26, 2008
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