Energy drain sees Britain's FTSE slip back

Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:09am EST

LONDON Dec 13 (Reuters) - Profit-taking in energy stocks saw Britain's top share index edge lower on Thursday as investors balanced the impact of new monetary stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve with concerns on the impact of austerity measures on the world's largest economy.

After London's close on Wednesday, the Fed announced a new round of monetary stimulus and indicated interest rates would remain near zero until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent.

But Fed chairman Ben Bernanke warned that monetary policy won't be enough to offset damage from a "fiscal cliff" of steep tax hikes and budget cuts scheduled to kick in on Jan. 1.

At 0806 GMT, the FTSE 100 index was down 4.57 points, or 0.l percent, at 5,941.28, having closed 0.4 percent higher at a fresh nine-month closing peak on Wednesday.

Energy stocks, which had led the blue chips higher on Wednesday, were the main drag on the index early on, led by falls from BG Group, down 1.1 percent.

The energy firm named Chris Finlayson, currently managing director for Europe and central Asia at the firm, as its new chief executive from the beginning of January, replacing Frank Chapman, who has had a 12-year tenure at the helm. (Reporting by Jon Hopkins; editing by Simon Jessop)

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