* FTSE 100 falls 0.2 pct
* Weak U.S. data pegs index back after ECB
* Miners drop with copper on China stimulus disappointment
* Tullow Oil boosted by UBS upgrade
(Updates with new prices, quotes)
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, April 3 British blue-chip shares edged
lower after testing a three-week high on Thursday, as the end of
a two-week rally in mining shares offset gains by Tullow Oil.
The session proved volatile, however, with gains made in the
afternoon after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi
affirmed an easy policy stance evaporating after
below-expectations U.S. data.
The British FTSE 100 gave up a 0.2 percent gain,
which took it to its highest since March 12, to trade 0.2
percent lower at 6,649.14 at the close, tracking Wall Street
into negative territory.
The weaker data came a day ahead of the closely watched U.S.
non-farm payroll release, after new Federal Reserve chair Janet
Yellen reiterated an easy monetary policy stance earlier in the
"The FTSE has followed Wall Street down today, as the latest
bad news in manufacturing data was seen bearish," IG sales
trader Will Hedden said.
"Going forward it is hard for investors to decide if this is
going to remain the same, especially when you consider how
dovish (Federal Reserve chair Janet) Yellen was earlier in the
Growth-sensitive mining stocks weighed on the
market, with heavyweight copper miners such as Rio Tinto
and Anglo American taking the most points off the index.
The sector fell 0.8 percent after rising 6.8 percent over the
last two weeks.
Copper prices weakened after Chinese stimulus measures fell
short of expectations.
On the upside, Tullow Oil led risers with a 6.2
percent gain. Traders said the move came after UBS upgraded its
rating on Tullow to "buy" from "neutral".
Kingfisher rose 3 percent after Europe's biggest
home-improvement retailer began a 275 million euro ($378.6
million) takeover bid for France's Mr Bricolage,
moving to strengthen its position in its most profitable market.
Analysts at Oriel Securities said the acquisition made
strategic sense and the deal should help earnings in 2016.
The FTSE underperformed European equities, as it is less
exposed to the euro zone, after Draghi said the ECB was ready to
use unconventional instruments to avoid deflation.
While the FTSE had initially been supported by Draghi's
words, it suffered from sterling's relative strength against the
"We might see some more pressure on sterling ... (so) hints
toward more bond buying or other non-conventional easing
measures would likely be a short term negative for the FTSE,"
said Atif Latif, director of Trading at Guardian Stockbrokers.
But medium term prospects for the index still looked strong, he
($1 = 0.7263 Euros)
(Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Catherine