* FTSE 100 up 0.1 pct, 2013's peak of 6,875 in sight
* Miners strong, Citi lifts position on sector to "bullish"
* Index seen making all-time high in January - analysts
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Jan 16 Britain's top shares inched
higher on Thursday, propped up by steep gains from miners on
optimism over the global economy and upbeat analyst comment, as
traders bet the FTSE 100 would set a record high before the
month is out.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which on Wednesday had
closed at an eight-month high, was up 3.68 points, or 0.1
percent, at 6,823.54 points by 1139 GMT - hovering close to its
2013 high of 6,875.
Despite strength seen already in equity markets, traders
remain positive given encouraging signs from the world's largest
economy, with data on Wednesday showing a significant rise in
business activity in the New York region helping to dispel
concern over last week's disappointing U.S. jobs report.
"In the coming sessions we should be should be looking for
the FTSE to enter blue sky territory," Mike McCudden, head of
derivatives at Interactive Investor, said.
The UK benchmark has broken out of a technical analysis
pattern called a "bullish flag", sending a positive signal, with
the index now rallying towards its record high.
"This (the break out of the flag pattern) should take it to
its all-time high at 6,950 in January. It will be helped by
mining stocks which are in a position to gain some 9 percent
over the same period," Valerie Gastaldy, head of technical
analysis firm Day-By-Day, said.
Miners added the most points to the FTSE on Thursday. The
FTSE 350 Mining Index rose 3.3 percent while Rio
Tinto firmed 3.6 percent after reporting big increases
The mining sector was the worst-performing equity sector in
2013, dogged by concerns over a possible slowdown in economic
growth in China, which is the world's biggest metals consumer.
However, analysts at U.S. bank Citigroup on Thursday said
the mining sector was due for a rebound.
Citi upgraded its rating on the sector to "bullish" from
"neutral" - marking the first time it had taken such as position
on the mining industry in three years.
The U.S bank said an upturn in the European and U.S.
economies could offset any slowdown in China.
"Improvements in European and U.S. growth are supportive for
commodities and weakening commodity currencies are providing a
fillip for the miners," it wrote in a note.
The FTSE 100 rose 14.4 percent in 2013 to post its best
annual gain since 2009. The index has gained around 1 percent
since the start of 2014.