* FTSE 100 pauses near multi-year intraday high of 6,875
* StanChart leads banks higher after China injects cash
* Unilever jumps on forecast-beating results, helped by EM
* Miners pull back after best week in 18 months
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Jan 21 Britain's top shares consolidated
near an eight-month high on Tuesday as reassuring news about
economic conditions in emerging markets boosted consumer staples
and financials, although miners weakened.
The FTSE 100 touched its highest since May 2013,
before pulling back in the afternoon, with traders citing
caution on Wall Street as U.S. markets reopened after a long
Banks lent support to the index, led up by Standard
Chartered, which rose 2.3 percent to add over 2 points
to the FTSE 100.
The Asia-focused lender gained after China's central bank
moved to head off another destabilising liquidity squeeze on
Tuesday with a big injection of cash.
"We are relative optimists on China," said Alan Higgins, UK
chief investment officer at Coutts. "Despite the issues there,
we think that China has the resources to cope with these issues,
and they look like they're beginning to take some fundamental
Improvement in emerging markets also helped consumer goods
firm Unilever, which rose 1.8 percent after it unveiled
better-than-expected 2013 results. Its earnings were helped by a
rebound in emerging markets after weakness there fuelled a
Brewer SABMiller slipped 0.3 percent after
announcing poor sales, however, saying it has been plagued by
weak consumer sentiment in Europe.
"What's common across the consumer products area is that
Europe and the euro zone are in difficulty ... Unilever really
received its push ahead from emerging markets, because the
growth in Europe has been sluggish," IG market analyst David
"That's been evident in SABMiller also. It's not surprising
that companies are looking to emerging markets to get their
growth, because well-established markets in Europe are
The FTSE was flat in percentage terms at 6,834.26 points at
the close. Strength in consumer staples and banks was
counteracted by weakness in miners, with traders saying the
sector was set for a pause after posting its best week in 18
months last week.
The index remained just 0.6 percent off May's intraday high
at 6,875, which was its highest level since December 1999.
Among the top individual risers was Intertek, up
3.2 percent, after fellow testing firm SGS hiked its
dividend and revenue forecasts, adding it would continue to
looking for growth opportunities in emerging markets.