* Barclays rises as analysts welcome strategy update
* Barclays gains lift rival UK bank stocks
* Many traders still cautious over adding to equities
* Some traders expect near-term pull back on FTSE 100
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Feb 12 Barclays led gains for
banks that lifted Britain's benchmark share index on Tuesday,
with other sectors largely flat and the market seen vulnerable
to further selling afer falling below a key level.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 was up by 0.1 percent, or
7.10 points higher, at 6,284.16 points.
Barclays rose 3.7 percent to the top of the FTSE
100's leaderboard, after unveiling new cost-cutting measures in
a strategy update and higher profits.
Barclays also helped push up the share prices of rival banks
such as Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Analysts welcomed Barclays' cost reduction plans, which will
result in the company slashing at least 3,700 jobs.
"For now, despite a 60 percent-plus gain in the share price
over the last six months alone, the new Chief Executive looks to
have done enough, with analyst opinion remaining positive in
tone," said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown
Many traders nevertheless remained reluctant to add to
holdings of FTSE 100 shares.
The index rose around 8 percent in January to reach a 2013
peak of 6,354.46 points, before slipping back over the course of
February to trade below the 6,300 points mark.
Its failure to hold above the 6,300 big figure this month
has led some investors to expect a further fall and prompted
them to sell shares to cash in profits made in January's rally.
"I think we could see a four to five percent correction in
the next month or two," said John Smith, a fund manager at Brown
Shipley Private Bank.
Smith said stocks he had sold off included Vodafone, whose
0.8 percent decline took the most points off the FTSE 100 index
Vodafone's shares have risen some 10 percent since the start
of 2013 but Smith said some investors had concerns over signs of
weakness in its European business.
"We have been reducing our exposure in Vodafone. There are
some concerns about them going forward," he said.
Mike Mason, senior dealer at Sucden Financial Private
Clients, also had doubts over whether there was enough momentum
to push the FTSE 100 back above the psychologically important
6,300 point level reached earlier this month.
According to Thomson Reuters Starmine data, of companies on
the UK stock market to have reported fourth-quarter results so
far, 46 percent have reported results below market forecasts
although the majority have reported results either in-line or
"I'd be looking to take profits at these levels," said EGR
Broking managing director Steven Mayne.
(Editing by Catherine Evans)