* Intertek boosted by Numis upgrade
* Weir gains on takeover talk
* FTSE steady going into close of trading
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Aug 5 (Reuters) - A rise in the shares of quality and safety services company Intertek after an upgrade and those of engineering group Weir on speculation it could become a takeover target drove Britain’s top equity index higher on Tuesday.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index edged up by 0.1 percent, or 4.44 points, at 6,681.96 points going into the close of trading.
Intertek was the best-performing FTSE 100 stock in percentage terms, rising 2.6 percent after Numis raised its rating on the company to “add” from “hold”, a day after Intertek posted an increase in its interim profits and dividend.
Weir Group put on 2.4 percent after its decision on Monday to end its corporate broker agreement with Bank of America Merrill Lynch suggested that Weir could be targeted by bigger rivals for a takeover.
Weir said that the U.S. bank’s appointment by another company, which Weir did not name, created a conflict of interest.
“Yesterday’s decision to sack BAML illustrates that the company is really getting too neurotic to stay strongly independent for long,” Hobart Capital director Justin Haque said.
The FTSE 100 fell 1.7 percent last week, as world stock markets were affected by an upsurge in violence in Gaza and Ukraine, geopolitical flashpoints that are seen clouding the near-term outlook for the FTSE.
Darren Easton, director of trading at Logic Investments, said he would look to sell positions on the FTSE if it rose up to 6,740 points, while Central Markets’ trading analyst Joe Neighbour also backed selling into rallies for a profit.
“We’ve decided it would be prudent to sell into strength,” said Easton. (Additional reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)