May 17, 2017 / 9:29 AM / 3 years ago

Miners, Lloyds help FTSE hover near record high

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* FTSE 100 flat

* Lloyds rises after govt sales final stake

* Hargreaves rebounds, upgrade boost Kingfisher

* British Land falls after cautious outlook

* Sophos hits fresh high following results

By Kit Rees

LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index held close to a record high on Wednesday, helped by gains among miners and banking stock Lloyds, though a fall in British Land’s stock weighed on housing-focused peers.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index was flat in percentage terms at 7,521.33 points by 0918 GMT, within a whisker of a record high hit in the previous session.

Traders, however, were more cautious on the FTSE’s recent run, which has seen its longest gaining streak since January.

“There’s nothing really driving this market higher in terms of positive sentiment,” John Moore, a trader at Berkeley Capital, said.

“We believe it’s a bit of a final short squeeze, getting the last of the bears out of the market before a bit of a move lower.”

While a broader risk-off mood prevailed among European indexes, Britain’s large caps were led by gains in Lloyds , which rose more than 2 percent after the British government sold off its remaining stake in the lender following its bailout in the 2007-2009 global financial crisis.

Investment platform provider Hargreaves Lansdown was also a top gainer, up 2.3 percent and recovering some of its losses from the previous session.

Its shares tumbled 8.5 percent on Tuesday, with traders pointing to an announcement from ETF provider Vanguard about plans to sell directly to investors in Europe for the first time.

“The HL business model has proved itself to be incredibly resilient in the face of a couple of major headwinds in recent years,” Shore Capital analyst Paul McGinnis said in a note.

“We would be a lot more nervous around the implications of the Vanguard platform for the fledgling robo-advice sector.”

Mining stocks also supported the blue chips, with Rio Tinto , Antofagasta and Anglo American all gaining between 1.1 percent to 1.4 percent on the back of steady copper prices.

Precious metals miner Fresnillo was also in demand as the price of gold rose.

Broker action lifted shares in Kingfisher, which was up nearly 2 percent after HSBC raised its recommendation on the stock to “buy” from “hold”.

A Jefferies downgrade to “underperform” from “buy” weighed on pharma stock Hikma, which dropped 2.6 percent.

Jefferies equity analyst James Vane-Tempest cited the recent delay in U.S. approval for Hikma’s generic drug Advair.

Results also weighed on British Land, falling 3 percent and on track for its biggest one-day loss in four months after issuing a cautious outlook for the property market due to Brexit uncertainty.

Peers Land Securities Group and Intu Properties also fell.

Outside of the blue chips, well-received full-year results from Sophos helped the network security firm hit a fresh lifetime high, up 8.6 percent.

The stock has been in demand in the wake of a global ‘ransomware’ attack, boosting shares in cyber security firms. (Reporting by Kit Rees; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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