* FTSE 100 up 0.5 pct; set for biggest weekly gain since Feb
* Lingering Ukraine tension to keep market on edge - ETX
* Some profit-taking beginning, likely to continue - trader
* BHP rallies on spin-off plans
By Francesco Canepa and Lionel Laurent
LONDON, Aug 15 Britain's top equity index was on
track to record its biggest weekly gain in six months as it rose
on Friday, helped by a rally in heavyweight miner BHP Billiton.
Weak economic data in Britain, Europe and the United States
has increased expectations for a continuation of ultra-loose
monetary policy, bolstering equities on the FTSE, mirroring
The FTSE 100 was up 43.50 points, or 0.7 percent, at
6,728.82 points by 1110 GMT, setting it on course for a 2.5
percent rise on the week, the largest since February.
The week was marked by a dovish message by the Bank of
England, which led investors to push back expectations for an
interest rate increase, and a general rebound in global equity
markets after two weeks of steep declines.
Despite official data on Friday showing Britain had kept up
its strong growth in the second quarter, with its yearly pace of
expansion revised up to 3.2 percent, the Bank of England has
said it is paying close attention to prospects for pay - which
has been very weak in recent months.
Earlier this week, the Bank of England slashed its wage
growth forecasts, leading money market investor to push back
expectations for a UK interest rate rise until the first quarter
of next year at the earliest.
Traders had welcomed conciliatory comments from Russian
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, but tensions between
Ukraine and Russia remained high, keeping investors cautious
about the market's near-term prospect.
Dozens of heavy Russian military vehicles massed on Friday
near the border with Ukraine, where a huge Russian convoy with
humanitarian aid came to a halt as Moscow and Kiev struggled to
agree on border crossing procedures.
"Short-term I'd probably be 'short' the FTSE because the
issues in the Ukraine could influence this market and I think
they are going to keep it on a knife's edge," Mark Priest,
senior trader at ETX Capital, said.
Another London-based trader said that some clients were
already taking profit on UK stocks after the past week's gains
and that he also expected a slight correction in the short term.
The FTSE is still down 2 percent since late July, dragged
down by tension in Ukraine and the Middle East, as well as
concerns about a tightening of the U.S. monetary policy.
Helping support the FTSE on Friday was global miner BHP
Billiton, whose shares rose 2.4 percent after it
declared its preference for a spin-off of its unwanted
aluminium, manganese and nickel assets.
The spin-off would set the stage for the formation of a
separate company that one report said could be worth $14
(Editing by Alison Williams)