FTSE edges higher; miners buoyed by China export hopes

* FTSE up 0.1 percent; miners add most points to index

* Bargain hunters put banks on firmer footing

* BP top faller on dividend concern

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, June 9 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index edged
higher at midday on Wednesday, led by miners buoyed by firmer
metals prices on expectations for robust China export numbers,
while BP (BP.L: ) sank on worries over its dividend.

By 1113 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was up 6.02 points, or 0.1
percent, at 5,034.17, after falling 0.8 percent on Tuesday.

Miners were in demand on firmer metals prices as sources
pointed to a surge in China’s total exports in May, ahead of the
data’s official release on Thursday, showing the economic
strength of the world’s top consumer of metals.

Fresnillo (FRES.L: ), Xstrata (XTA.L: ) and Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: )
were the best off, adding 2.1-4.5 percent.

Banks found favour as bargain hunters moved in on a sector
which has fallen on worries over potential exposure to the euro
zone debt crisis and the punitive levies European governments
may place on lenders’ earnings.

Barclays (BARC.L: ), Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L: ), Royal Bank
of Scotland (RBS.L: ) and Standard Chartered (STAN.L: ) rose 0.3-2.5
percent.

“On valuation grounds the markets are looking certainly
reasonable value if not outstanding, suggesting that the ongoing
plunge that we have seen over weeks and weeks is unlikely to
continue,” said Peter Dixon, economist at Commerzbank.

“The general problem is that sentiment remains very nervous
and we are going to be in for a period of volatile trading.”

The British blue-chip index has fallen 13.5 percent since
mid-April, as growth concerns emanating from Europe’s debt
crisis have dented investor confidence.

Among individual movers, InterContinental Hotels Group
(IHG.L: ) the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms,
climbed 2.7 percent as it began a two-day event for analysts and
investors in New York.

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

BP PRESSURED

BP topped the list of blue-chip fallers, off 3.4 percent
after U.S. politicians put pressure on the oil company to
suspend its dividend payment to pay for legal claims and
environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico.

The spill is high on Washington’s radar screen, with several
congressional hearings set for Wednesday. [ID:nN08105101]

Peer Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ) slipped 0.4 percent.

Britain’s goods trade deficit with the rest of the world was
wider than expected in April, after disruption to air traffic as
a result of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud hit both exports
and imports, official data showed. [ID:nLDE6580RG]

Johnson Matthey (JMAT.L: ) and C&W Worldwide (CWP.L: ) fell
after trading ex-dividend.

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(Editing by Dan Lalor)

FTSE edges higher; miners buoyed by China export hopes