FTSE up 0.4 percent; firm miners outpace weak oils

* Miners extend previous session’s gains

* BP top blue-chip faller after Q4 misses expectations

* Pubs boosted by upbeat Merrill note

By Tricia Wright

LONDON, Feb 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top share index was 0.4
percent higher in midday trade on Tuesday, as solid gains from
miners, buoyed by positive broker comment, outpaced weak energy
stocks pressured by disappointing results from BP (BP.L: ).

By 1200 GMT, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was up 18.90 points at
5,266.31, after closing 58.89 points, or 1.1 percent higher on
Monday.

“Some of the concerns which have come into the market in
recent weeks may be being overly amplified,” said Peter Dixon,
economist at Commerzbank.

“And then we get a positive surprise like yesterday’s ISM
(manufacturing) number out of the U.S. and obviously the world
looks a brighter place for equity investors,” he said.

Miners added the most points to the index, extending the
previous session’s solid gains, with Rio Tinto (RIO.L: ) up 3.1
percent aided by a Citigroup upgrade to ‘buy’, and Anglo
American (AAL.L: ) putting on 2.4 percent after SG Securities
lifted its rating on the stock to ‘buy’.

Eurasian Natural Resources (ENRC.L: ), Kazakhmys (KAZ.L: )
Lonmin (LMI.L: ) and Xstrata (XTA.L: ) added 3-4 percent, with the
demand picture helped by the stronger U.S. manufacturing data.

Australia’s central bank shocked markets by not raising
interest rates for a fourth consecutive time, citing the impact
of higher mortgage rates at home while noting tighter policy in
China and concerns over sovereign debt abroad. [ID:nSGE61003K]

Banks were in demand, extending their rally from the past
two sessions, with Standard Chartered (STAN.L: ), Barclays
(BARC.L: ), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ) and Lloyds Banking
Group (LLOY.L: ) putting on 0.2-3.2 percent.

ENERGY DRAIN

Energy stocks were in the doldrums, with BP the standout
FTSE 100 faller, off 4.5 percent, after missing forecasts with a
33 percent rise in fourth-quarter replacement cost profit and
saying an operational turnaround could slow. [ID:nLDE61105O]

Peer Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ), set to report on Thursday,
fell 0.1 percent.

Among individual movers, Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L: ) shed 2.2
percent after Credit Suisse cut its rating for the household
products firm to ‘neutral’ from ‘outperform’, mainly on
valuation grounds. [ID:nLDE6110GW]

On the second line, pub operators found good support after
BofA Merrill Lynch reiterated its positive stance on the sector
following an upbeat conference it hosted on Monday, helping
drive an ouperformance by the FTSE 250 (.FTMC: ) index over blue
chips.

Marston’s (MARS.L: ) climbed 3.4 percent, while Enterprise
Inns (ETI.L: ) added 3.2 percent, and Punch Taverns (PUB.L: ) firmed
2.3 percent.

In terms of data, the only U.S. pointer of real interest
will be December pending home sales, so attention will remain
directed on Thursday’s Bank of England interest rate decision
and the December U.S. jobs report on Friday.

Stock Market Money

(Editing by Dan Lalor)

FTSE up 0.4 percent; firm miners outpace weak oils