* UK mining shares outperform broader market
* FTSE 100 steady after sharp gains on Thursday
* Shire weakens on trial failures
By Tricia Wright
LONDON, Feb 7 London-listed mining stocks rose
for a fourth straight session on Friday, reaching a two-week
high, as investors bet that strong U.S. jobs data will improve
sentiment and boost demand for raw materials.
The UK mining index was up 0.6 percent by 1235
GMT, outperforming the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which
rose 10.52 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,568.80 points. The FTSE
100 had jumped 1.6 percent the day before to record its best
daily gain in seven months.
"Today's market is driven by speculative positioning ahead
of the U.S. numbers," said Tim Whitehead, investment manager at
Redmayne-Bentley. "If you want to take a stance on the market
and go into the higher beta sectors like miners and your call is
right, you will get twice the return on the general level of the
Some investors are betting that U.S. non-farm payrolls
numbers, due at 1330 GMT, will also be encouraging after data
showed on Thursday the number of Americans filing new claims for
unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.
According to a Reuters Survey of economists, U.S. jobs are
expected to have increased by 185,000 last month. If the data
comes in line or better that predictions, it would offer some
assurance to investors that the pace of economic recovery in the
world's biggest economy is not faltering and global demand for
metals will improve.
The UK mining sector is headed for its second straight week
of gains. The index is up 1 percent for the year after falling
16 percent in 2013. In contrast, the FTSE 100 is down around 3
percent so far in 2014 after surging 14 percent last year.
Sweetener maker Tate & Lyle advanced 1.8 percent,
among the top FTSE 100 risers. Traders cited a double upgrade by
JPMorgan, to "overweight" from "underweight", as the catalyst
for the move.
Shire fell 0.9 percent in brisk trade after Vyvanse,
a top-selling medicine for hyperactivity, failed in two
late-stage clinical trials to successfully treat adults with
major depressive disorders.
"I think it should go down more; it's obviously a blow to
the company... I think you'll see a quite negative pull-back to
28 quid," said Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital.
"If there's a big sell-off in the stock (to 28 pounds) bid
speculation will come back... into play in a more serious
manner," he said. Such a drop would take the shares some 10
percent below the current 3,113 pence level.