Miners help extend FTSE rally into sixth day

By Tricia Wright

LONDON (Reuters) – FTSE rose for a sixth straight session on Wednesday, boosted by miners, after the top metals consumer, China, reported robust trade data.

Miners, which fell sharply in 2013, are staging a recovery after a sector-wide drive to offset falling metals demand with cuts in spending. They got a boost on Wednesday from the fresh evidence that the Chinese economy is stabilising.

The UK mining index, up 1.2 percent, hit a three-month high on Wednesday after Chinese exports and imports handily beat expectations in January.

“We expect the miners to continue to perform well in the immediate short term, as the market focuses on better cashflow from volume growth, weaker FX, cost reductions and capex cuts,” Goldman Sachs said in a note.

The sector is off to a solid start this year, up nearly 6 percent, against a 1 percent drop on the FTSE 100.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 7.62 points, or 0.1 percent, at 6,680.28 points by 1219 GMT, marking the index’s sixth straight day of gains.

The market showed little reaction to comments from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and other British monetary policymakers at a news conference after the Bank published its quarterly Inflation Report.

“It’s pretty much steady as she goes,” CMC Markets senior market analyst Michael Hewson said. “He’s reiterated the low interest guidance, and as such I think markets have acted fairly benignly towards that.”

The FTSE 100 index has rebounded from its December lows, which have acted as the springboard for a decent bounce, lifting the index above its 50-day moving average.

Bill McNamara, a technical analyst at Charles Stanley, said the short-term outlook remains encouraging, with most indicators pointing towards further gains. His next upside target for the index stands at 6,750 points.

(Additional reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Larry King)

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