* FTSE 100 steady, hovering close to 2013's peak levels
* FTSE 100 flat in early session trading
* Gains in mining stocks add most points to FTSE 100
* Citigroup upgrades its position on miners to "bullish"
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Jan 16 Britain's top equity index
steadied close to last year's peak levels on Thursday, with the
market propped up by gains in major mining stocks.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index, which on Wednesday had
closed at an eight-month high, was flat at 6,823.99 points in
early session trading - hovering close to its 2013 peak of
JNF Capital trader Rick Jones said the FTSE would eventually
hit an all-time high of 7,000 points this year, but added he was
first waiting to see if it could break and hold above the peak
levels that had been set last year.
"I'm still fairly bullish but we've got to first see the
market test and break above last year's highs. Failure to do so
could lead to it slipping back momentarily," he said.
Mining stocks added the most points to the FTSE. The FTSE
350 Mining Index rose 1.6 percent while Rio Tinto
gained 1.4 percent after reporting big increases in
The mining sector was the worst-performing equity sector in
2013. The industry was dogged by concerns over a possible
slowdown in economic growth in China, which is the world's
biggest metals consumer.
However, analysts at U.S. bank Citigroup on Thursday said
the mining sector was due for a rebound.
Citi upgraded its rating on the sector to "bullish" from
"neutral" - marking the first time it had taken such as position
on the mining industry in three years.
The U.S bank said an upturn in the European and U.S.
economies could offset any slowdown in China.
"Improvements in European and U.S. growth are supportive for
commodities and weakening commodity currencies are providing a
fillip for the miners," it wrote in a note.
The FTSE 100 rose 14.4 percent in 2013 to post its best
annual gain since 2009. The index has gained around 1 percent so
far since the start of 2014.