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RBS shares rise on news of increase in profits

Long-awaited cheer from Royal Bank of Scotland saw shares in the taxpayer-owned lender surge 8%, amid another positive session for the London market.

The FTSE 100 Index completed a week of gains after it emerged that the US economy created 288,000 jobs in April, the best figure since January 2012.

That boosted the US dollar and meant sterling was down slightly against the greenback at 1.68 and flat against the euro at 1.21. The FTSE 100 Index was 13.5 points higher at 6822.4, having risen to an eight-week high and within sight of a record level.

AstraZeneca shares were little moved by new developments in its takeover situation after Pfizer sweetened its approach to £50 a share, valuing the firm at around £63 billion.

The new proposal was not enough to trigger a positive response from Astra's board, who said the financial and other terms described in the offer were inadequate and substantially undervalue the business.

As the UK company has refused to engage, Pfizer may now consider it is time to take its approach direct to Astra shareholders.

Despite the latest improved offer, Astra's shares were 7p lower at 4808p and well short of the £53 a share that some analysts think Pfizer will have to pay.

The rise in RBS's share price of 25.1p to 331.7p came after it said pre-tax profits rose to £1.64 billion from £826 million in the same period last year.

However, the figures were accompanied by a warning from chief executive Ross McEwan that there are still "plenty of issues from the past to reckon with".

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