* FTSE 100 down 0.6 pct
* Miners hit; gold, iron ore prices pressured
* Eyes on U.S. jobs data at 1230 GMT
* BP recovers; Citi upgrades to "buy"
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Sept 5 Britain's top shares fell back on
Friday from recent 14-1/2 year highs in cautious trade awaiting
the latest U.S. jobs report, though shares in oil major BP
managed a recovery.
Miners led the fallers, down 1.2 percent, as
gold and iron ore prices came under pressure.
Precious metal miners Fresnillo and Randgold
Resources were among the weakest FTSE 100 performers,
down 3.7 percent and 2.8 percent respectively, with base metal
miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton both off 1.3
The FTSE 100 was down 42.87 points, or 0.6 percent,
at 6,835.10 points by 1101 GMT, falling back from a 14-1/2 year
high of 6,904.86 points reached on Thursday when the European
Central Bank surprised markets by cutting interest rates.
U.S. jobs data is set for release at 1230 GMT. Economists'
forecasts centre on a 225,000 rise in non-farm payrolls last
Should employment meet expectations, it will add to data
such as automobile sales and manufacturing and services sector
gauges in casting the economy in a bullish light.
While solid jobs growth alone is insufficient for the
Federal Reserve to initiate an early interest rate increase, it
will throw the spotlight on the path of U.S. monetary policy.
"The U.S. data is showing so much strength that if the
labour market starts to complete the jigsaw ... then the debate
about interest rates is going to come back onto people's agenda
relatively quickly," Ian Richards, global head of equities
strategy at Exane BNP Paribas, said.
"We've just traded European data for the last month as bad
news is good news," he said, referring to the economic weakness
that prompted the ECB's latest stimulus package. "We could be
trading U.S. data here as good news is bad news."
The FTSE 100 is up some 5 percent since early August, partly
in anticipation of the ECB's largesse.
However, the index is yet to sustain a move above the 6,900
point level - a key hurdle on the path towards record highs.
BP PAIN ALLEVIATED
Oil major BP recovered some of its poise after
suffering its biggest one-day percentage drop in four years on
Thursday when a U.S. judge decided it was "grossly negligent"
and "reckless" in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill four years ago.
The ruling could leave BP on the hook for an additional fine
of up to $18 billion.
Citi, which estimated that BP would be liable for less than
half that amount at $8.2 billion, upgraded its rating on the
stock to "buy" from "neutral", while increasing its price target
to 510 pence from 480 pence.
The shares, up 0.8 percent on Friday, trade at 458.75 pence.
"Although this is now a point of high uncertainty for
investors, we believe the financial implications of this ruling
will remain significantly below the maximum," Citi said.
BP stock is still down about 30 percent since before the oil
spill in 2010, while the FTSE 100 is up about 25 percent over
the same period. The spill has already taken $44 billion, or
roughly the price of 440 million barrels of crude, off BP's
(Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Vikram Subhedar and
Blaise Robinson; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)