* FTSE 100 up 0.2 pct
* Lack of liquidity measures from Draghi hit stocks
* FTSE recovers quicker than peers after ECB
* Aviva, Aggreko surge after updates
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, March 6 Britain's top share index edged
higher on Thursday, buoyed by updates from as Aviva and
Aggreko, although a lack of new policy from the
European Central Bank and uncertainty over Ukraine capped gains.
British equities tracked euro zone stocks lower, after ECB
President Mario Draghi offered no new measures to boost lending
in the region. Speculation that he would had boosted European
stocks in early trade. British shares recovered
faster, since they are less affected by ECB policy.
"We've been surprised by the sharp move lower in equity
markets during Draghi's speech, but it appears bulls have been
disappointed by a failure to commit to further liquidity
measures in the short term," said Matt Basi, senior sales trader
at CMC Markets, adding that he was not surprised by the speedy
recovery of the index.
Britain's FTSE 100 was up 15.80 points, or 0.2
percent, at 6,791.24 by 1425 GMT. It was up 0.3 percent before
Draghi's press conference.
A spate of bullish earnings reports also supported the
British insurer Aviva rose 8.9 percent to the top of the
FTSE 100 after the company said operating profit rose 6 percent
in 2013 and that it was proposing a final dividend of 9.4 pence
Fund manager Schroders gained 4.6 percent following
its higher-than-expected pre-tax profit growth for 2013, while
Aggreko, the world's biggest temporary power provider, climbed
5.3 percent after saying it would return 200 million pounds
($334 million) to shareholders.
Events in Ukraine also put pressure on the index. The
Crimean parliament voted to leave Ukraine and join the Russian
Federation, raising the stakes in the worst East-West
confrontation since the Cold War.
The FTSE fell 1.5 percent on Monday after Crimea was
effectively seized by Russian forces at the weekend. It more
than made up the drop on Tuesday, as Russian President Vladimir
Putin played down the prospect of war.
"We bounced too strongly on Tuesday ... and now this vote in
favour of Russia sovereignty puts a spanner in the works and
delays the resolution of the situation further," said David
Madden, an analyst at IG. "The prospect of a war is declining,
but the situation is far from over."
Technical analysts were unsurprised that the market could
make only limited gains, but said that a steady performance was
healthy in the medium term and should support a future rise.
"Prices have entered into a consolidation phase but remain
supported by the key support threshold at 6640," Nicolas
Suiffet, technical analyst at Trading Central, said, identifying
the 50 percent retracement level of the February rally as
"As long as 6640 holds as a support, a new up leg is likely
towards the swing high area around 6865/6875 with 6950 as target