Britain's FTSE hits six-week high, miners lead

Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:29am EDT

* FTSE 100 index rises 0.5 percent
    * UK mining index up 1.4 percent, top gainer
    * Anglo American advances after strong output update

    By Atul Prakash
    LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index hit a
six-week high on Thursday, with miners leading the market higher
tracking firmer metals prices, while Anglo American also
reported strong output numbers.
    The UK mining index, the biggest sectoral
gainer, was up 1.4 percent. Anglo American rose 3.2
percent to the top of the blue-chip FTSE 100 index after
its copper output rose 18 percent and iron ore 10 percent in the
first quarter. 
    "AAL's update shows a stronger output and an increase in
guidance for copper. With recent Chinese PMI data still showing
a reading below 50, this update and the upcoming updates from
the world's largest miners may go some way to ease investors'
nerves," Tom Robertson, senior trader at Accendo Markets, said.
    Other miners also gained, with Antofagasta up 1.1
percent and Rio Tinto rising 1.4 percent, helped by a
rise in key industrial metals prices, underpinned by strong
seasonal demand in top consumer China and supply concerns.
    Basic resources shares helped the FTSE 100 to trade 0.5
percent higher at 6,709.60 points by 0811 GMT after it hit a
six-week high of 6,713.73 points.
    However, charts suggested that investors remained cautious
despite the index bouncing back after falling last week to touch
a major support line in the form of its long-term uptrend at
around 6,500.
    "The good news for the bulls is that this line still appears
to be providing solid support, as does the 200-day moving
average," Bill McNamara, analyst at Charles Stanley, said.
    "The fact that the index bounced so modestly following three
weeks of declines ...looks like a clear indication that
investors remain cautious. The FTSE might not be finished with
its test of support," he said adding the index could fall as low
as 6,492 points in the near term.
    Among individual movers, AstraZeneca rose 2 percent
after highlighting progress with a new generation of cancer
drugs that may revive its fortunes as it posted a 17 percent
fall in core earnings per share. 
    ARM Holdings rose 0.7 percent after U.S. tech giants
Apple and Facebook posted strong results late on
Wednesday, boosting their shares in after-hours trading.

 (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by John Stonestreet)