Banks, miners help FTSE rally; oils weigh

* FTSE up 0.2 percent; banks, miners bounce off lows

* BP weighs down energy sector; congressional hearings eyed

* Broker upgrade helps Wolseley

By David Brett

LONDON, June 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index was
modestly higher on Wednesday as bargain hunters picked up
battered banking and mining shares after recent falls, but
weakness in energy issues, led by BP, curbed the overall gains.

By 0821 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) index was up 8.63 points,
or 0.2 percent at 5,036.78, after closing 0.8 percent lower on
Tuesday and having dipped below the 5,000 level at one stage.

London’s blue chip index has shed 3.5 percent in the past
three sessions and is down over 13 percent since mid-April, as
growth concerns eminating from Europe’s debt crisis have dented
investor confidence.

Banks (.SX7P: ), which have fallen on their potential exposure
to the crisis and worries over the punitive levies European
governments may place on lenders’ earnings, were the biggest
risers.

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ), Barclays (BARC.L: ), Royal Bank
of Scotland (RBS.L: ), Standard Chartered and HSBC (HSBA.L: ) added
1.0-3.1 percent.

“The market has pushed higher first thing but there remains
little to underpin the rally,” said Mic Mills, head of
electronic trading at ETX Capital.

“Overall sentiment is very fragile, particularly with BoE
and ECB rate decisions tomorrow, although investors will
probably reserve more attention for the start of the soccer
World Cup.”

Miners rose as metals prices firmed following recent sharp
falls as demand concerns which have clouded the sector’s outlook
faded.

Fresnillo (FRES.L: ), BHP Biliton (BLT.L: ), Anglo American
(AAL.L: ), and Xstrata (XTA.L: ) added 0.8 to 2.7 percent.

BP TOILS

The energy sector was dragged lower again, howver, by BP
(BP.L: ), with the oil major down 2.2 percent and hovering around
the 400 pence level after hitting a 20-month low on Tuesday.

The shares came under renewed attack after U.S. president
Barack Obama threatened to “kick-ass” over the Gulf of Mexico
oil spill on Tuesday.

Although the energy giant was forging ahead with efforts to
capture oil gushing from its stricken Gulf of Mexico well, the
spill remained high on Washington’s radar screen, with several
congressional hearings set for Wednesday. [ID:nN08105101]

Meanwhile, peers Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) and BG Group
(BG.L: ) both shed 0.6 percent although crude prices (CLc1: ) ticked
higher.

On the upside with blue chips, InterContinental Hotels Group
(IHG.L: ) the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms,
climbed 3.8 percent as it began a two-day educational event for
analysts and investors in New York.

The firm was also boosted by a read-across from peer
Marriott International (MAR.N: ), which said its room rates at
North American hotels rose for the first time in two years
during the month of May.

Wolseley (WOS.L: ) rose 1.6 percent after UBS upgraded its
stance on the plumbing supplies group to “buy” from “neutral”
within an otherwise cautious review of the pan-European building
materials sector.

Ex-dividend factors chipped 0.53 point off the FTSE 100
index, with Johnson Matthey (JMAT.L: ) and C&W Worldwide (CWP.L: )
both losing their payout attractions.

Investment Analysis

(Editing by Sharon Lindores)

Banks, miners help FTSE rally; oils weigh