FTSE extends gains to trade closer to record highs

Mon Jun 9, 2014 6:55am EDT

* FTSE 100 index up 0.2 pct, trades near record peak

* Miners buoyed by signs of strength in global economy

* Lloyds weakens as prices TSB float cheaply

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index extended recent gains to trade closer to a record peak on Monday, with miners leading the market higher following further signs of a pick up in the pace of global economic recovery.

The UK mining index rose 0.5 percent, the biggest sectoral gainer in the blue-chip FTSE 100 index after a rise in exports from China, the world's biggest metals consumer, and following Friday's encouraging U.S. jobs data

"The global economic recovery is grinding higher and weekend macroeconomic data from China further supports this view," Robert Parkes, equity strategist at HSBC, said.

"The improving business cycle is positive for cyclical sectors and obviously helps the mining sector, which is particularly sensitive to developments in China."

The FTSE 100 index was up 0.2 percent at 6,870.41 points by 1041 GMT, leaving it just about 1 percent shy of the record peak in late 1999. It has risen in the previous two weeks and is up nearly 2 percent so far this year.

The index has been coming up against resistance around 6,880, but Charles Stanley technical analyst Bill McNamara said it no longer looks overbought, which "implies that it might be able to push higher in the near term".

Charts showed the 14-day relative strength index (RSI) for the UK benchmark was at about 59 after rising last month to around 70, a technically "overbought" market condition that often results in a pullback.

Alpari analyst Craig Erlam also saw scope for more gains.

"Should we see a break above the 29 May highs of 6,882, it would suggest the grind higher is not over, while a break above 15 May highs of 6,894 would further support this," he said.

On the negative side, Lloyds Banking Group bucked the trend, dropping 1.2 percent, after the bank said it would sell a quarter of its shares in TSB through a listing on the London stock market priced at 220-290 pence per share, which is below the business's book value.

The price reflects a cooling of investor interest in UK company flotations in recent weeks following a rush of activity earlier in 2014. Clothing chain Fat Face pulled its planned London listing last week while shares in insurance-to-holidays firm Saga have fallen below their IPO price.

"I am feeling these IPOs are starting to grow weary on investors. The recent SAGA failure is no exception and to price in at the bottom of the range presents a double-edged sword," Galvan's head of trading Ed Woolfitt said.

"Bearing in mind Lloyds need to make the disposal as they are obliged, it may be just a case of them making sure it is fully subscribed." (Additional reporting by Tricia Wright; Editing by Toby Chopra)