Insurers lift Britain's FTSE 100 in early trade
* FTSE 100 up 36.80 points at 6,611.44
* Resolution rallies after H1 profit beat
* Old Mutual lags as Nomura cuts rating
By David Brett
LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - British shares rose in early trade as insurers led an index rebound following better-than-expected first-half profits from Resolution.
The British life insurance group climbed 4.8 percent to top the list of FTSE 100 risers after it said IFRS-based operating pretax profits rose 17 percent year-on-year over the six months to end-June to 191 million pounds.
Legal & General was 1.2 percent higher.
Old Mutual bucked the upbeat trend to top the fallers list, down 2.1 percent, knocked by a downgrade to "neutral" from "buy" at Nomura on valuation grounds.
"In light of this and the fact that we see high South African exposure as being potentially negative for sentiment in the short/medium term, we downgrade Old Mutual to neutral as we see better value elsewhere in the sector," Nomura said in a note.
The UK's benchmark index recouped the previous session's losses, rising 36.80 points, or 0.6 percent to 6,611.44 at 0726 GMT, as it resumed its month-long battle to break convincingly above the 6,600 level.
"It seems we are now in a range and with the (Federal Reserve) tapering noise likely to become louder and louder as we head into September we may well find ourselves going lower before heading up," Jawaid Afsar, sales trader at SecurEquity, said.
The FTSE 100 has traded in a 170-point range since early July as markets remain vulnerable to a potential pull-back in stimulus, most likely in the U.S., in the next month.
"If tapering is, however, delayed towards the end of the year markets will rally but its a close to call," he said.
With central banks broadly continuing to make dovish comments, and in light of the Bank of England's recent policy announcements, the UK inflation report due at 0830 GMT will be closely watched, given the link made between inflation and future interest rate decisions.
Inflation is forecast at 2.8 percent compared with 2.9 percent in June, well above the BoE's target of close to, but not below, 2 percent, according to a Thomson Reuters' poll. (Reporting by David Brett; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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