Britain's FTSE back above 6,500, led by Aggreko

Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:41am EDT

* FTSE 100 up 0.4 percent

* Aggreko rises on Africa power deal

* Miners weaken, China concerns dog sector

* Retailers advance, Morrisons and Ocado in talks

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) - Britain's top shares rose on Thursday led by Aggreko on a power deal in Africa, though heavyweight miners limited gains as some traders bet a rally that has propelled the FTSE 100 to five-year highs could stall.

The FTSE 100 was up 25.37 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,506.87 by 1228 GMT, recovering from the previous session's 0.5 percent drop to put it within touching distance of 6,510.62, its highest closing level since late 2007.

Miners fell, with investors jittery over China given its recent indication that inflation concerns could take precedence over a pro-growth stance. The sector is down some 2 percent in 2013, against a more than 10 percent advance on the FTSE 100.

"With heavily weighted mining stocks dragging on the back of (concerns over) China's economic growth, it seems as if it may still be some time until we see the London benchmark index re-take those highs we last saw in 2007," Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor, said.

Fawad Razaqzada, market strategist at GFT Markets, whilst still bullish on the FTSE 100, "can't help but feel there will be a nasty sell-off at some stage soon as investors rush to book profit".

He, nevertheless, expected the FTSE 100 to reach 6,600, or even 6,700 before seeing a significant pull-back, and highlighted that support was likely to come in around 6,400, formerly a key resistance level.

Aggreko advanced 5.6 percent to 1,942 pence, in trading volume at three quarters of its 90-day daily average after striking a deal to supply power to EDM in Mozambique and NamPower in Namibia.

Shares in the temporary power provider have had a torrid time since the company issued two profit warnings at the back end of last year and remain well below the highs of around 2,400 pence seen last September.

Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets, said the update gives additional support around the 1,820-1,850 pence after the recent bounce, and the possibility of further contracts could help with a return to 2,100-2,400 pence.

"In the absence of additional contracts, bulls would do well to note, however, potential resistance at the 200-day moving average (around 2,050 pence) and the trendline of falling highs from September (around 2,100 pence)," he said in a note.

Retailers notched up solid gains on Thursday. Britain's fourth-biggest grocer Wm Morrison added 2.6 percent after raising its dividend by 10 percent and announcing talks with online grocer Ocado over an online food operation.

Ocado, which has been the talk of bid rumours involving Morrisons and is one of the most shorted stocks on the FTSE indexes, also reported a strong rise in recent sales and jumped 20.5 percent.

Britain's biggest household goods retailer Home Retail rose 11.5 percent after it hiked its profit forecast for the second time in 2013.

And yield-hungry investors continued to snap up shares in Prudential, up 3.1 percent, after the insurer ramped up its dividend by a bigger than expected 16 percent on Wednesday. (Reporting by Tricia Wright; editing by Ron Askew)

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