* UK mining shares outperform broader market
* FTSE 100 steady after sharp gains on Thursday
* Shire slips after poor results of a trial
By Atul Prakash
LONDON, Feb 7 London-listed mining stocks rose
for a fourth straight session to a two-week high on Friday, with
investors betting that a strong reading of U.S. jobs data could
improve sentiment and the demand outlook for raw materials.
The UK mining index was up 0.6 percent by 0917
GMT, outperforming a steady blue-chip FTSE 100 index,
which rose 1.6 percent in the previous session to record its
best daily gain in seven months.
"The markets are jittery as there are still fears that the
emerging markets unwinding may have further to go," Tim
Whitehead, investment manager at Redmayne-Bentley, said.
"Today's market is driven by speculative positioning ahead
of the U.S. numbers. 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
index," he added.
Some investors are betting that U.S. non-farm payrolls
numbers, due at 1230 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 broader FTSE 100 index is down 2.8 percent
so far in 2014 after surging 14 percent last year.
Gains in miners were offset by the UK pharmaceuticals and
biotechnology index, which fell 0.7 percent,
dragged down by a 1.3 percent drop in Shire after
Vyvanse, its top-selling medicine for hyperactivity, failed in
two late-stage clinical trials.
Among sharp individual movers, British sweetener maker Tate
& Lyle rose 2 percent, helped by an upgrade by JP
Morgan to "overweight" from "underweight" and a hike in its
target price for the stock to 900 pence from 735 pence.