July 17, 2013 / 8:13 AM / 4 years ago

Miners drive gains in Britain's FTSE

* FTSE 100 share index up 0.4 pct
    * BHP leads miners higher after strong update
    * Focus on minutes from BOE's last meeting

    By Atul Prakash
    LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - Britain's top share index rose
in morning trade on Wednesday, led by mining stocks after BHP
Billiton said iron ore production rose 9 percent to a
record level.
    The global miner said it was ahead of plans to expand its
iron ore operations in Australia and its shares rose 2 percent, 
while Mexico's Fresnillo, the world's largest primary
silver producer, rose 3.1 percent after saying output was in
line with guidance. 
    That boosted the UK mining index by 1.7 percent
to head the gainers' list. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index 
was up 27.66 points, or 0.4 percent, at 6,584.01 by 0849 GMT.
    "Quarterly production updates from BHP and Fresnillo are
having a knock-on effect on the sector," Tom Robertson, senior
trader at Accendo Markets, said. 
    UK banks also outpaced the market following
strong results from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday. The sector
rose 0.6 percent with Lloyds Bank up 1.2 percent.
    Robertson said he expected trading to be fairly subdued
ahead of congressional testimony later in the day from Federal
Reserve chief Ben Bernanke, "after which we may see clear
direction. 
    Investors will look for further hints about when the U.S.
central bank will roll back its bond-buying programme. 
    Focus will also be on the release of the Bank of England's
latest policy meeting at 0830 GMT. The meeting was Mark Carney's
first as governor and investors would scrutinise the minutes to
see whether he voted for more quantitative easing.
    

 (Editing by John Stonestreet)

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