December 20, 2016 / 9:52 AM / 3 years ago

Britain's FTSE falls, miners in the doldrums

(ADVISORY- Follow European and UK stock markets in real time on the Reuters Live Markets blog on Eikon, see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets)

* FTSE 100 down 0.2 pct

* Lloyds up after M&A news

* Miners weigh

By Kit Rees

LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index fell on Tuesday as miners pulled back, though Lloyds rose after a deal to buy a credit card business.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was down 0.2 percent at 7,000.76 points by 0941 GMT, underperforming a broadly positive European market.

Mining stocks, were the standout fallers, retreating 0.7 percent, with precious metals miners Fresnillo and Randgold Resources down 1.5 percent and 1.4 percent as the price of gold eased.

Antofagasta and Glencore were down around 1 percent.

“Towards the year-end ... some fund managers (are) looking to book profits on stocks that have performed very well. If we take a look at some of the more diversified miners, they’ve seen aggressive moves this year,” Dafydd Davies, partner at Charles Hanover Investments, said.

British miners are up nearly 95 percent this year, led by mid cap Hochschild, which has surged nearly 300 percent, and Anglo American, which has gained more than 270 percent.

Banking stock Lloyds was among the top gainers, up 1 percent following its deal to buy the MBNA credit card business from Bank of America for 1.9 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) in an effort to increase profit and reduce its reliance on mortgage lending.

“The anticipated financial performance and shareholder value creation that is expected to be generated by this transaction is impressive, in our view, and suggests a better use of capital than simply returning it to shareholders,” Gary Greenwood, analyst at Shore Capital, said in a note.

Housebuilding stocks Barratt Developments and Persimmon were also among the top gainers, up 2 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.

Both stocks were hit by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union in June, with investors concerned that a potential slowdown in the British economy could impact more domesticallyexposed stocks, such as housebuilders.

Barratt Developments is down 23 percent for the year and Persimmon is down over 14 percent.

Outside of the blue chips, Paysafe jumped nearly 5 percent after announcing a buyback of up to 100 million pounds sterling. (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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