* FTSE 100 up 0.2 pct, BoE keeps rates at 0.5 pct, holds QE
* Banks, commods gain, China trade data eyed
* Retailers lower, HMV results, cold snap worries
By David Brett
LONDON, Dec 9 Banks helped Britain's top shares
rise on Thursday after the Bank of England (BoE) kept interest
rates and quantitative easing measures unchanged, while U.S.
jobs figures raised hopes that a recovery was under way.
The FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 13.43 points, or 0.2 percent, at
5,807.96, eradicating Wednesday's losses, though gains were
muted, with some traders speculating that a tightening of
monetary policy in China could be imminent.
"Risk appetite has been tempered somewhat ahead of the
release of some important Chinese (trade) data tonight," said
Michael Hewson, market analyst at CMC Markets.
"This has led to some caution that the Chinese may act on
monetary policy ahead of the weekend."
Barclays (BARC.L), up 4.5 percent, led banks .FTNMX8350
higher, but Standard Chartered (STAN.L) shed 3.6 percent after
issuing a trading update. [ID:nTOE6B805E]
The BoE's Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep interest
rates at a record low of 0.5 percent and total asset purchases
at 200 billion pounds, shrugging off concerns over rising
inflation and the UK's anaemic growth outlook. [ID:nLAC005797]
U.S. JOBS BOOST
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more than
expected last week, and the four-week moving average slipped to
a fresh two-year low, bolstering recovery hopes. [ID:nN09222654]
In London, mining shares .FTNMX1770 and energy stocks
.FTNMX0530 underpinned blue-chip gains.
Oil major BG Group rose 3.6 percent as it said it expected
very low unit costs for the initial development of the Tupi and
Guara fields in the Santos Basin, offshore Brazil.
Elsewhere, Cobham (COB.L) added 3.7 percent after the
defence contractor's demotion to the FTSE 250 .FTMC was
confirmed, to be replaced by engineering group IMI (IMI.L).
Equities look set to remain a preferred asset class into
"(Equity) valuations will remain more or less flat, but
equities will pay you 3 or 4 percent in dividends," said
portfolio strategist Johannes Jooste of Merrill Lynch Wealth
Management, part of Bank of America Corp (BAC.N).
"Dividend yield will remain a powerful driver of market
performance in the first half of 2011."
The UK blue-chip index carried a 12-month forward
price-to-earnings multiple of 9.8, Thomson Reuters Datastream
Analysts at Credit Suisse argued in a note that some
equities were safer than bonds, adding "bonds outflows
(four-week moving average) are negative for the first time since
2009, while equity inflows (3-month moving average) are their
highest since 2006".
On the downside, traders said sentiment among retailers was
hit after first-half results from HMV HMV.L, which highlighted
the cold snap in Britain was undermining Christmas trading.
Morrison Supermarket (MRW.L) shed 1 percent, while Next
(NXT.L) and Marks & Spencer (MKS.L), fell 2.4 and 2 percent,
(Editing by Will Waterman)