* FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct
* Index dips in early deals but holds support level
* RSA gains after ex-RBS chief appointed
* Financials mixed with Hargreaves Lansdown down 5.4 pct
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Feb 5 Britain's top share index edged up
on Wednesday after five straight sessions of falls, halting a
recent pullback due to concerns over the health of the global
economy after the index managed to hold above a key support
Although the FTSE 100 fell early on, it bounced back
up after testing support at 6,422, managing to hold above
Volatility on the index also remained subdued after
falling from seven-month highs the previous day, suggesting
investors' concerns are easing.
The recent falls in the FTSE - and rise in volatility - have
come as concerns over U.S. growth compound fears over the
resilience of emerging market economies, and traders said it was
too early to know whether the index would hold its gains on
The FTSE 100 was up 23.39 points, or 0.4 percent, at
6,472.66 at 0851 GMT, although it remained within recent ranges,
stuck below the intraday high hit in the previous session.
"Any move towards 6,400 is attracting some buying, (but) I'd
want that area to hold for the week before I'd be sitting a
little more comfortable on the long side," said Will Hedden,
sales trader at IG. He added that investors were cautious ahead
of a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday and U.S. jobs
numbers on Friday.
"If you did well last year - which most equity investors did
- then I don't see why you need to rush things at the moment."
The index gained 14.4 percent last year, although emerging
market turmoil has seen it lose 4.1 percent so far in 2014.
Leading gainers was RSA, up 4.6 percent in heavy
volume after analysts and investors welcomed the insurer's move
to name former Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen
Hester as its new chief executive.
"We view the appointment of Stephen Hester, a proven CEO
with a track record of tackling challenging restructuring
stories, as clearly shifting the risk/reward of the RSA stock,"
analysts Barclays said in a note, upgrading the stock to "equal
weight" from "underweight".
The broader financial sector, however, which includes
insurers, banks and asset managers, was mixed after Hargreaves
Lansdown dropped 5.3 percent after results.
Traders cited a change in fee structure, a falling interest
margin and the stock's good recent run as behind the falls, with
the update otherwise showing good client growth.
Hargreaves Lansdown is up over 110 percent since the
beginning of 2013.