Miners drag FTSE off six-month highs

By David Brett

LONDON (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s top shares were weaker

on Friday, weighed by miners with investors banking recent strong gains on a quiet day for the market, as the index retreated from the previous session’s six-month closing high.

By 6:35 a.m. ET, the FTSE 100 (.FTSE: ) was off 30.06 points, or 0.5 percent, at 5,727.80, after ending up 28.93 points, or 0.5 percent, on Thursday at 5,757.86.

“The 20-day moving average currently around 5,661 acts as a trailing stop and still maintains a bullish bias,” said Nicolas Suiffet, an analyst at Trading Central.

“Next resistances are set at 5,770 and 5,835 (April’s high). Only a downside breakout of the key 20-day moving average would dampen the bullish sentiment and would trigger a trend reversal.”

With gains on the FTSE of around 10 percent since the start of September and no significant economic or corporate data due out in Britain or the United States on Friday, investors locked in profit on stocks that have driven the recent rally.

Miners (.FTNMX1770: ) took the biggest bite out of the index. The sector had gained 3.5 percent since the close on Tuesday, when it was hurt by the interest rate rise in China.

BHP Billiton (BLT.L: ) fell 1.0 percent. The Canadian province of Saskatchewan, home to Potash Corp (POT.TO: ), said it opposed BHP’s $39 billion bid to buy the fertilizer supplier, setting the stage for a politically charged final decision by the country’s federal government.

Saskatchewan may consider imposing a resource transfer tax on BHP Billiton if Ottawa approves its proposed takeover of provincial crown jewel Potash Corp, provincial Premier Brad Wall said.

Vedanta Resources (VED.L: ) and Lonmin (LMI.L: ) were the top fallers among the miners, each down 2.1 percent.

Petrofac (PFC.L: ) dropped 1.4 percent after BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded its recommendation on the oil services firm to “neutral” from “buy” on valuation grounds.

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly lower opening for Wall Street on Friday, failing to provide any incentive for investors to start buying back into the market.

SKY HIGH

BSkyB (BSY.L: ), Britain’s dominant pay-TV firm, added 0.5 percent after posting strong first-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.)s along with a better-than-expected rise in customers.

TUI Travel (TT.L: ) edged up 1.8 percent, after shedding more than 11 percent on Thursday, when it revealed its finance chief will quit and restated its 2009 accounts as a result of what it said was a post-merger technical glitch.

BG Group (BG.L: ) rose 0.9 percent after Australia gave environmental approval to two coal-seam gas projects worth about $30 billion, led by BG and Santos (STO.AX: ).

Micro Focus International (MCRO.L: ) climbed 6.3 percent, topping the list of FTSE 250 (.FTMC: ) risers, with traders citing talk that the business software group could be a target for U.S. firm IBM (IBM.N: ).

“Micro Focus has some interesting skills that will very much be of interest to IBM.” said George O’Connor, an analyst at Panmure Gordon.

Analysts will be watching the Group of 20 meeting in South Korea on Friday and Saturday as an agreement to tackle economic imbalances and fend off the prospect of damaging currency devaluations looks set to evade the financial leaders there for the talks.

(Editing by Karen Foster)

Miners drag FTSE off six-month highs